Christ and Calamity: Grace and Gratitude in the Darkest Valley

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Lord, do you not care if we perish?

That’s what the frightened disciples shouted to Jesus as he slept in the stern of a storm-tossed boat. In the midst of suffering and uncertainty, we’re all prone to think that God has forgotten us, he doesn’t care, or he’s powerless to do anything.

And that’s true of us in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Christ and Calamity, Harold L. Senkbeil speaks pastorally to our suffering and uncertainty. Senkbeil shows God’s constant and faithful grace to us. With Paul he encourages us: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess 5:16–18).

Calamities come in many different sizes, and God addresses them all in his Word and by his Spirit. Even when we don’t see or feel it, God is always faithful.

“If I dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me” (Ps 139:9–10).

The disciples’ faith in the midst of the storm may have been weak, but Jesus was mighty to save. And he will save you, too. No matter how small your faith, you can count on him to hear your anguished cry and to answer.


“The ‘Great Exchange’―my rags for Christ’s righteousness―is not just a doctrine. Nor is it just an experience in the past. It’s the objective truth. Harold Senkbeil doesn’t just tell us this truth again but applies the salve to our anxious hearts. The book is a gem!”
―Michael Horton, professor at Westminster Seminary California, author of The Christian Faith

“Hal Senkbeil has stared the problem of suffering in the face and hewn from the pages of the divine Scriptures, the sweetest cross-filled consolations.”
―Matthew C. Harrison, president of the Lutheran Church―Missouri Synod

“This is a book to read and to read again whenever we need it, a book to give away to people who are hurting. This book will be a classic.”
―Gene Edward Veith, provost emeritus of Patrick Henry College, author of The Spirituality of the Cross

“As we live out our lives in this broken world, we are never far from pain, never far from calamity. Each of us passes through the dark valley not one time, but again and again. The Christian tradition has many trustworthy guides for those difficult times, and I’m glad to commend Christ and Calamity as another that will serve God’s people as we endure this calamity, or that one, or the inevitable ones to come.”
―Tim Challies

“In this excellent little book, Harold Senkbeil reminds us that in the midst of calamity, God is where he’s always been: near to us in the Christ given to us in the gospel. … While there have been a spate of recent, ‘timely’ corona-books focused on the immediate pandemic that shut down the globe, Senkbeil has given us a timeless book, born out of years of pastoral ministry, ready to speak a word of comfort to every valley we may walk in one day. I’m happy to commend it to you.”
―Derek Rishmawy, RUF Campus Minister at UC Irvine, Columnist at Christianity Today

About the Author

Harold L. Senkbeil is author of the award-winning book The Care of Souls: Cultivating a Pastor’s Heart (Lexham Press). He is executive director emeritus of Doxology: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care. His pastoral experience of nearly five decades includes parish ministry, the seminary classroom, and parachurch leadership.

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