The words "pain" and "suffering" don't even begin to describe the life of author and pastor Jim Andrews and his family. His adult daughter and her husband have endured more than 20 years of incomprehensible, untreatable illnesses in the form of CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome) and MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities), which have altered their everyday lives and the lives of Jim and his wife to the utmost degree.
The author's goal is to provide encouragement for others going through similarly unendurable circumstances while at the same time telling the story of his daughter, Juli's, life and situation. This is accomplished through letters, written primarily to his congregants, which serve as alternate chapters to the main text. This writing technique makes for very interesting reading.
We learn Juli's history of a horseback riding accident as a child to a horrible case of mononucleosis as a college graduate to various diagnoses and treatments to the roller-coaster experience of remission and reappearance of disease.
Self-blame, comparing ourselves to others, and emotional issues are just some of the many topics covered in the chapters between the letters. There are accounts of others who have suffered, stories which illustrate important points, and people in the Bible who we may not remember or be that familiar with who surprisingly have gone through similar struggles. In these chapters you will find ledges and grips to hang on to while you climb the mountain of suffering.
Polishing Monuments is Jim Andrews' expression for the Biblical coping strategies presented in this book. By "memorializing God's monuments of faithfulness" or bringing to mind the goodness and faithfulness of God, victims of great suffering can find strength and hope. It all attests to the wonderful God we worship that this book, a personal account of suffering beyond belief, glorifies our maker. Here we see that in all and through all, God can and does use us to minister to others and to glorify Himself.
"If during the course of my ministry, and especially over these harrowing last twenty years, my wife and I have learned anything, it is that the people of God are by no means exempt from the whole distressing catalogue of human troubles. It is our hope and prayer that the biblical perspectives and habits I have shared with you in this book, combined with the flesh-and-blood example of the on-going pain and testing in our family, will strengthen and inspire you."
Polishing God's Monuments is an important book. It should be read by pastors, counselors, as well as anyone who is suffering.