Max Lucado is known as "America's pastor." In his 20 years of writing, he's sold 82 million books in 41 languages. He's appeared on USA Today, Larry King Live, and NBC Nightly News, and has spoken at the National Prayer Breakfast. Hallmark even has a line of greeting cards based on his writings (they've sold over 1 million cards so far).
Yet despite his national renown, he's a pastor at heart. Gentle, gracious, and filled with concern for his congregation, for over 25 years he's counseled his flock at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio through countless painful experiences—the marriage that's fallen apart, the 5-year-old who died in a car accident, the war vet burned from head to toe in Afghanistan. These experiences led to his latest book, You'll Get Through This: Hope and Help For Your Turbulent Times, an extended reflection on suffering, pain, and hope based on Joseph's story in Genesis. Jeff Haanen, executive director of Denver Institute for Faith & Work, spoke with Lucado on living through tragedy, a theology of suffering, and the hopefulness that flows from trusting in God's sovereignty.
Why did you choose Joseph's story in Genesis as a basis for your book?
Well, I've been pastoring for a long time—over 30 years—and I've found myself wanting to give people a real hope-filled message that they can consider during tough times of their lives. And Joseph's story has always attracted me. Here's a guy who was sold into slavery, abandoned by his family, unlawfully imprisoned—yet he never gave up, he never gave in. Bitterness never took over. The way he survived made him the perfect illustration of my point in the book.
How does this book flow out of your decades of pastoral ministry?
Through the years, ...1
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