Suffering. Is there a more perennially and painfully relevant topic? Countless books address the subject—and countless sufferers read them. Beneath the sometimes shiny veneer, after all, this world is a profoundly tragic place.

Christian books on suffering tend to fall into one of three camps. Some are philosophical, written to address the “problem of evil” and other complex questions from a typically scholarly perspective. Others are theological, intended to survey the breadth of God’s Word to see what it has to say about affliction and evil. Still others are pastoral, designed to give down-to-earth devotional help to those locked in the grip of pain.

Of course, these categories often overlap, and some books may capably address two. I don’t know of any, however, that thoroughly tackles all three like Tim Keller’s new Walking with God through Pain and Suffering. (Read Joni Eareckson Tada’s review.) With an academic mind and a pastor’s heart, the senior minister of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York engages our minds and our hearts with the truth-anchored hope of the gospel.

I corresponded with Keller about the wimpishness of Westerners, the bankruptcy of secularism, the usefulness of Judgment Day, the gymnasium of God, and more. And come back later to watch the livestream from New York as Keller discusses his newest work.

To read Smethurst’s interview, please click here.