When Answers Aren't Enough: Experiencing God As Good When Life Isn't  -     By: Matt Rogers
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When Answers Aren't Enough: Experiencing God As Good When Life Isn't

Zondervan / 2008 / Paperback

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Product Description

On April 16, 2007, 33 Virginia Tech students were killed in the worst massacre in modern U.S. history. As campus pastor, Rogers found himself asking and being asked, "Where is God?" Going beyond pat answers and intellectual responses, he explores the depths of our longing for a Savior we can trust when nothing else is certain. 224 pages, softcover from Zondervan.
Grief

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 8 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0310286816
ISBN-13: 9780310286813
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

On April 16, 2007, the campus of Virginia Tech experienced a collective nightmare when thirty-three students were killed in the worst massacre in modern U.S. history. Following that horrendous event, VA Tech campus pastor Matt Rogers found himself asking and being asked, “Where is God in all of this?” The cliché-ridden, pat answers rang hollow. In this beautifully written reflection, Rogers illumines the path for experiencing God as truly good when life isn’t.

Publisher's Weekly

Rogers, a pastor at New Life Christian Fellowship at Virginia Tech, reflects on the tragedy that shook the campus (and the nation) in April 2007 when Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 fellow students and professors. However, this isn't primarily a message of pastoral comfort, or even a journalistic account about how students of faith have walked through their grief. (Rogers is more than 50 pages into the book before he mentions that one of the students who died attended his church.) Instead, it centers around Rogers's own heartache and struggle to understand how God can give so many good gifts and yet allow such horror. While there are poetic moments, and readers will be comforted by his thoughts on the way the world was meant to be and the world that is to come, there's little new, and all the brooding introspection can become wearying. With a release timed around the anniversary of the shootings, there promises to be a lot of interest and plenty of media opportunities. Unfortunately, the book could have been much better if Rogers had gotten out of his own pain and focused on the students he works with. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    More than I ever expected
    May 20, 2011
    Betty Whelham
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I enjoyed this book so much that I ordered 4 more to give to friends. When I first started reading this book it seemed a bit morbid and I wondered if I should put it down but, as I got into it, it far exceeded my expectations. I have a daughter who was shot in the head about 25 years ago. She has been very bitter toward God and often declared that she does not believe in God. Through some unexpected circumstances she is now in our home and I have been reading the book to her. She now says she believes in God and that, inspite of her situation, she believes God is truly good. The book made me more aware of God's presence and the beauty He has created all around us.
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    September 15, 2008
    MJ
    When Answers Aren't Enough is a work of deep expression and emotions put onto paper for all to see straight from the heart of Matt Rogers. Through this book, Matt was able to retell what it was like to be part of the Virgina Tech family during their extreme loss, but it goes well beyond that as well. He delves into many different examples of tragedy where people have screamed, "There is no God! He would not let this happen, if there was", and takes the reader past dwelling on the questions.Truly answers are not enough for comprehending heart break, but usually it is not unless we are past the questions that we can truly see that fact in front of us. This book is a painful and pleasant journey through pain and the after thought. It is a well written conversation between Matt and the reader, and it is one that I suggest everyone should take part in experiencing.God is good, and is always good, while life wavers on what it seems to want to be. But through the bad in life we can then see the good in God. I'd suggest this book as a read for anyone and everyone. This is a dictation of what really matters, and that's Christ, our Lord God and his will and design.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    August 9, 2008
    Stacey
    Mark Rogers When Answers Arent Enough is a heartbreaking and hopeful read, not offering answers for how to handle tragedy, but rather pointing the reader to the ultimate source of comfort, God. The novel is broken into three parts. Part One introduces the grim reality that is life. Part Two takes you back to the perfect beginning of life as God intended it to be. Part Three offers hope for the future as Gods will is accomplished.The stories within these pages of this emotional novel are told by the author with raw frankness and great courage. The end notes are a helpful source of additional information.
  4. 3 Stars Out Of 5
    June 22, 2008
    maureen
    Matt Rogers tries to unlock that nagging question that haunts those who have experienced tragedy in their lives--"Why would God allow this?" However, this well written narrative feels more like one man's struggle to try to come to terms with a good God in a bad situation and finding Him (which is encouraging) but doesn't necessarily meet his intended goal of being an example to help others come to the same conclusion. I often felt more depressed and empathetic for him, rather than translating it to helping others or myself feel better. (Kind of like having to read Lamentations in the Bible only on good days so I don't have a black cloud over my head.) It is possible, however, that this book will mean more to those that also went through a horrendous experience like the VT killings and may have similar unanswered questions. Still worth a read.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    May 27, 2008
    Amy
    I found this book honest and at times, heart-wrenching. But in the end, it is also eminently hopeful. It didn't offer up canned responses, it did exactly as I hoped it would. It pointed to the Creator. I would highly recommend this book to anyone grieving.
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Author/Artist Review

Author: Matt Rogers
Located in: United States
Submitted: March 25, 2008

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I am one of the pastors of New Life Christian Fellowship at Virginia Tech. Eight hundred students call it home. In addition to our campus ministry, we have a community congregation in Blacksburg, Virginia, that we recently launched. As for me? I never know how to describe myself because we change daily through our experiences. I guess I would say I'm pretty serious, a deep thinker, though with a dry wit. I like to laugh, and I like people who make me laugh. In fact, one of the best things in life is laughing so hard you cry.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  Too many books on suffering and grief focus almost exclusively on providing answers to troubling questions: How can God be good when the world so often isn't? Answers help, but rarely do they heal. I experienced this first hand after the tragedy at Virginia Tech in which thirty-two students were killed by a fellow student. When pain interrupts life in a big way, we need more than intellectual solutions. So the question is not so much, "How can God be good when the world isn't?" but rather, "How can I EXPERIENCE God as good when life isn't?" The psalmist says to "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8 TNIV). In other words, move beyond the intellectual. Use your senses. Experience your faith. This is our real need in suffering: not merely intellectual solutions, but God himself. I wanted to write a book that, through my own story after the Virginia Tech massacre, gave others a path to experiencing God as good when life isn't.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  The way to peace in the absence or insufficiency of answers. Sometimes we don't know why terrible things happen. Even when we do know, the knowing often doesn't help much. Again, we were created for God, not answers. If this book helps people experience God as deeply good in the midst of their grief, I will be very happy indeed.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  I never left April 16, 2007, behind. I thought about it every day as I wrote the book. At times, this was exhausting and wearying. Ultimately, though, I believe it was therapeutic. Rather than running from the sadness, I embraced it, worked through it slowly but thoroughly. As a result, I feel a wholeness I doubt would have been possible otherwise. When Moses went up on the mountain to hear from God, the Bible says he "approached the thick darkness where God was" (Exodus 20:21 TNIV). I love that image. God was in the darkness. Moses had to enter into it to experience God. That has been my story this past year.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  Madeleine L'Engle (to whom my book is dedicated) taught me to experience what I once only believed. She, through her writing, helped me see something better than intellect alone, and I am grateful for her influence in my life. Philip Yancey: I can't say enough how his honesty and transparency have given me freedom to face my own doubts and questions. Pick up a copy of "Where is God When it Hurts?" or "Disappointment with God." Both are excellent books. If I could choose to write like another author, I would choose to emulate Annie Dillard. You simply must experience the beauty of her prose (that borders on poetry) in "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek." And what Christian writer hasn't felt the influence of C.S. Lewis? You can hear echoes of his "A Grief Observed" in my "When Answers Aren't Enough."

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  When I write, I aim first at raw honesty. I want readers to know that pastors face the same questions, doubts, and fears as the rest of the world. At least this pastor does. Hopefully, readers will find solace in that knowledge.

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