I've never read anything before by Randy Alcorn but early last year I went through a very hard season of doubt and struggle and someone recommended I read this book. When I saw it was available for review I decided to pick it up.
When I first saw it I was at Lifeway checking out more books (can you say book junkie?). It's almost 500 pages... to be honest that kind of scared me. Who wants to read that many pages of a non-fiction book, especially on the goodness of God? You could find yourself in deeper waters than you thought, right?
Well, don't let the number of pages scare you. I've read several chapters of this book and it is just so good!! One thing I absolutely enjoy about this book is how it's PACKED with Scripture. Few books nowadays have the Word in them and I think it's a great benefit, especially to a book this important.
Who hasn't asked, God, why does this happen? Why them? Why her? Why ME?
In the midst of trials and suffering and pain we get real and raw and we ask questions, but more than that we start to SEEK. Is this all there is? How do I live after something like _________?
Randy Alcorn uses grace and truth to help guide you through the questions to find yourself growing closer to your Maker and having a better understanding of evil. I wish I had had this book when I was going through doubt and depression and questions because he so beautifully points out all the bits of truth I needed to hear. Not all your questions will be answered, but the ones that really count are addressed here and I think you'll be blessed for reading it. If you know someone who is a skeptic or doubting or just struggling through life, I definitely recommend this book. It's lengthy so grab some coffee or hot chocolate and your Bible and get to work.
Note: I received this book for the exchange of a review.
If God is Good, Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil, by Randy Alcorn With so much turmoil in the world today, along with many family members, friends, and acquaintances experiencing traumatic situations, debilitating health issues, and sufferings of all kinds, it seems as though evil is gaining ground. However, I believe in my heart that God is still the One and Only who is in control and that one day evil will be no more. Despite my unwavering faith, I felt I needed to learn more about Gods character and purpose regarding suffering and evil as they are revealed and taught in the Bible.
For these reasons I chose to read a book by Randy Alcorn called, If God is Good, Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. I found this book extremely helpful in locating a lot of scripture dealing with this subject. Mr. Alcorns views and commentary seem to be right on and insightful. He has broken up his writing by using many subject headings to organize his thoughts and progressively build his case on the reasons for pain and suffering. This writing style makes it very easy to read and to better understand the answer to why there is suffering and evil.
I appreciate that Mr. Alcorn spent time pointing out that whether a person is a true believer of Gods sovereignty will determine if one has a spiritual view or a world view of suffering and evil.
You may find that this book requires a real interest in reading it because it is a thick one. Although it is easy reading, it is not one that you will want to breeze through as it offers plenty to pause and think about it. It is a great piece of writing that will help you to minister to those who need help in dealing with any kind of suffering. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to others.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
If the Creator of the world is good, why is there evil? Randy Alcorn tackles an age-old question with unique insight and logic. I have asked "Why?" many times. Like Job, never an answer to the question, but a refocus on the greatness of God. Alcorn writes:
"Grace and forgiveness, both expressions of God's eternal character, are moral goods, but without evil they wouldn't have become clearly evident. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit don't need compassion, mercy, grace, or forgiveness. These qualities could only be fully expressed to finite and fallen creatures."
Perhaps that is why the angels desire to look into the Gospel, 1 Peter 1:12,; the angels in Heaven have not sinned. They see God's compassion, mercy, grace and forgiveness, and that prompts them to desire to look into the Gospel.Alcorn also reminds readers that we cannot understand God's ways or thoughts. He suggests that maybe an explanation from God for the reason of evil and suffering might lead to greater misunderstanding.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9
I appreciated the pithy subtitles. I frequently reread them, highlighted them and tweeted them.True-to-Scripture, If God is Good was filled with stories of people who suffered greatly and, yet, said that their faith in God was strengthened in their time of testing. For some of the people Alcorn wrote about, their great trial was over and they understood why they had gone through the trial. For others, there was no answer, but there will be an answer in heaven.
Alcorn claims that the "Health and Wealth Gospel" perverts our understanding of evil and suffering. He acknowledges that God still miraculously heals people from sickness and that God uses doctors and medicineto heal people. Sometimes, God does not heal miraculously or through medicine. Sometimes, God has a better plan.
"When you pray only for healing, what are you praying to miss out on? Christlikeness? Shouldn't we learn to pray that our suffering causes growth, that God will give us little glimpses of Heaven as we seek to endure, and that He would use us?"
When I had fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, I thought that I was to shine for God through my pain, and I believe that was my purpose in that season. Two years before God miraculously healed me, God impressed upon my husband and me that He would heal me. Two years of praying for the promised healing. Two years of consuming the Scriptures and Christian books on healing, all the while, asking what God had for us to learn.
My fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue were a gift from God. God's healing was also a gift. God has given me little glimpses of Heaven through each of these gifts, directing this life's path on an unexpected adventure that unfolds the great goodness of God.
Footnoted and hefty, If God is Good, is a resource for those who have endured suffering or evil and for those who are in the midst of suffering or evil ... in other words, this is a resource for everyone who asks "Why?"
This book has been a great blessing to me ... a gift from God.Thank you, Randy Alcorn, for your diligence and commitment to this subject.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
This is an awesome book, Randy does it again. This is a great book loaded with scripture, real stories, real experiences, real people asking real questions.... this is real! Why does GOD allow suffering to his people? This is what Randy talks about, each chapter is the subject of a topic in which we have all heard or wondered about in life situations. Randy covers all these questions, as example: Understanding the problem of Evil and Suffering (or) Why does GOD allow suffering? and there are many more questions in this book. It is a very large book and can be over loading at first, just take it one chapter at a time and allow yourself to take time to read and think about it. You can easily just open to any chapter and take it slow and read for your quiet time.
I recommend this to everyone, this is an awesome book, either for reference, daily reading, subject reading, book study and so much more. Read this book, it has all the back up and is the truth of GOD's word and so much more.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Blogging for books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
This is undoubtly one of the best books dealing with Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. It is 100% biblical in its approach.
Randy is transparent with his own struggles and aptly illustrates the principless that he shares.This is thought provoking and causes one to examine their own life and attitude in the midst of doubt and struggle. This is a book that all pastors should devour. Seldom do I recommend a book without reservation,however I can do so with this one.
I have gleaned a lot of sermon material and illustrations that I can share with my people. Thank you Randy for the many hours spent in research,prayer and writing.May the Lord bless you richly.