Suffering with Joy

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In 2000, my sister, Joy Dyer, tried to pay for a purchase at a department store and she could not make her hand write out a check. That was the first sign that something sinister was attacking her body. Almost one year later to the day, cancer took Joy’s life. The letters in this book were born out of a desire to walk with them through this hard journey. My hope is that these letters will provide some comfort and encouragement to other fellow-sufferers who are walking a hard path.

Original price was: $24.98.Current price is: $19.98.


Suffering with Joy: Letters on Tragedy, Loss, and Hope

By Thomas K. Ascol

©2024 Thomas K. Ascol
Printed in the United States of America
ISBN: 978-1-943539-71-0

Additional information

Weight .9 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.5 × 1 in


Suffering has been our constant companion since the Fall. It is a great equalizer that eventually comes calling at the door of every family and is never a welcome guest. In this helpful book, Tom Ascol serves as companion, model, and teacher as he helps his loved ones, and us, navigate the deep waters of suffering and loss. This book is a timeless treasure to be shared with those inside the church as a guide to suffering well, and with those outside the church as a guide to knowing the one who is our only source of true and lasting hope.

Voddie Baucham
Founding Dean, ACU
Founding Faculty, The Institute of Public Theology
Author of Fault Lines

Many are the afflictions of the righteous. The Lord delivers us through them all. And as sweet as the promises are that God will deliver us, going through our afflictions and not getting out of them can challenge our confidence in His goodness, wisdom, and sovereignty. In this gentle-spirited book, Dr. Tom Ascol pastorally calls us to hope in God in this vale of tears. With the precision of a theologian and the devotion of a brother, Ascol’s biblical meditations and prayerful reflections remind the struggling Christian that we can be sorrowful yet always rejoicing.

E.D. Burns, PhD
Missionary in Southeast Asia
Professor of Spirituality and Missiology, Asia Biblical Theological Seminary


After the cancer diagnosis of his sister Joy, brother Tom Ascol wrote weekly letters for one year to encourage Joy’s family and friends with the precious promises of God’s Word. Over twenty years later, we have the rare privilege of reading these tender, Christ-centered, and moving letters for our own Bible memorization and devotional lives—each of which breathe with realism in the crucible of suffering alongside optimism that the world cannot know. Above all, Joy’s life shows that those who live and die in the Lord are truly blessed (Phil. 1:21; Rev. 14:13). I trust that the Lord will richly bless these letters for the comfort, encouragement, and endurance of many of His children in the midst of suffering as well as for stirring up holy jealousy in the hearts of the unsaved for the portion that belongs to God’s people, which in turn, may press them on to seek and find salvation for their own souls by the Spirit’s grace.


Dr. Joel R. Beeke
Chancellor and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
Pastor of Heritage Reformed Congregation, Grand Rapids, Michigan


This is holy ground. We are invited to a family pilgrimage of affirming the goodness of God, the power of His Word, and the vital reality of prayer as they experienced together the road to death of Joy—beloved wife, mother, sister, daughter. This journey, now more than two decades ago, was fueled with strength and energy in each next step by familial Scripture memory, exposition of the context of the memory verse, and a prayer based on the verse. We learn of the inception of the killing cancer, the agreement to journey together in the context of revealed truth, experiences week by week of Joy’s brave and trusting journey, the decline, the death, and the victory of such a death. We read the sermon Tom Ascol preached at the funeral. We can see that in Christ death is stingless. This was not conceived as an academic work or projected as a volume of devotions for the public. It is grippingly existential in the most spiritually and edifyingly provocative way. Their journey becomes ours and elicits the unerring exclamation, ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’


Dr. Tom J. Nettles
Retired Professor of Historical Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary


Every family needs this book. Suffering with Joy will give you the scriptures that you and your loved ones need when walking through heartrending trials—and especially with those who are dying. When sorrows run deep, you need a deeper well of wisdom to carry you through. This book plunges you into that well. Help your kids prepare for the trials ahead with the scriptures Tom prepared for his sister. Memorize the flagship verses that head each chapter with your family. This book is a shepherd’s staff written by a true shepherd. As I read these pages, it was plain to me that the author himself has been comforted by the same means through which he comforts others in their time of need.


Scott T. Brown
Pastor at Hope Baptist Church
President of “Church and Family Life”


In this volume, developed from a time of deep suffering within his own extended family, Tom Ascol has to the world given a gift—practical spiritual disciplines to help the reader lay hold of divine resources during life’s trials. His own reflections on Scripture and suggested prayers, as well as apt quotes from our church forefathers, demonstrate how we can better draw near to Christ in times of fear and pain.

Both a person suffering and one ministering to a sufferer will find page after page of deep wisdom and comfort drawn from the only source where one may find them—the Bible. I wish I had had Suffering with Joy on hand in the past to give to friends who were walking through difficult times, but I’m grateful I’ll be able to bless them with it in the future.


Megan Basham
Daily Wire Culture Reporter
Author of Shepherds for Sale


This book is one of the most edifying and encouraging books I have ever read. It is a compilation of forty-four letters (plus funeral sermon) that Tom Ascol wrote to the entire family during his sister Joy Dyer’s trial with and death from cancer. Providing Scripture memory from some of Joy’s favorite verses in each letter, Tom expounded each Scripture to encourage Joy, her husband Dean, and the rest of the family. The result is Christ-centered, theologically sound, and edifying application of the gospel to the joys and trials of Joy’s journey each step along her way to death, which was but her entrance into glory with Christ. It could be used as a devotional reading even beyond those who struggle with illness. It could be edifying to the pastor how to instruct and encourage his people in their multicolored trials. Tom’s integration of sound interpretation of these wonderful verses with practical application of their truth to Joy and the family is an example of how a Christian should always think as well as when facing life’s upheavals. Give this book to those in all kinds of trial. Give this book to the aging Christian who faces his/her mortality. Give this book to all kinds of Christians as an example of living a Christ-centered life by faith each day. They will thank you. But first, read it for yourself, and you will want to share it with those you care for. Thank you, Tom!


Dr. Fred Malone
Pastor Emeritus
First Baptist Church, Clinton, Louisiana

About the Author

Tom Ascol has served as a pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida, he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He was an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He also was Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.

Tom is the president of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has regularly contributed to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, the Truth and Grace Memory Books for children, and Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention, Traditional Theology and the SBC, and Strong and Courageous.

Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife, Donna, have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have eighteen grandchildren.





  1. Call to Me
  2. Strength and Peace from God
  3. A Lesson on Prayer
  4. Even the Mountains Will Sing
  5. Whom Shall I Fear?
  6. The Measure of God’s Love
  7. Peace in the Ups and Downs
  8. God Is Near to Us
  9. Our Hiding Place
  10. Seek the Lord
  11. A Legacy of Devotion
  12. Lift Your Eyes Up
  13. Count It All Joy
  14. Endure
  15. Humble Yourself
  16. Christ Our Shepherd
  17. In Due Time
  18. The God of All Grace
  19. Confess Your Sins
  20. Love in Deed and Truth
  21. Be Holy
  22. Seek First
  23. Ask, Seek, and Knock
  24. Incomparable Glory
  25. Our Good and His Glory
  26. Foreknown and Predestined
  27. Called, Justified, and Glorified
  28. Who Can Be Against Us?
  29. The Giver of All Gifts
  30. For Us
  31. Justified
  32. Arise, My Soul, Arise
  33. Our Final Enemy
  34. More Than Conquerors
  35. Though All Hell Should Endeavor to Shake
  36. To Save Sinners
  37. More of Him
  38. In Immanuel’s Land
  39. Our Great High Priest
  40. A Sympathizing Savior
  41. Blessed
  42. Fight the Fight of Faith
  43. We Will Rise with Him
  44. Never Doubt in the Dark What God Has Taught You in the Light




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