This work is an abridged version of Randy Alcorn's If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. For those who just want the answers, this is your book. For those who want a more detailed look at suffering and God's goodness, then read his expanded version. Both serve a purpose and reach a specific group of readers.
Alcorn sums his book up in this, "Anytime we limit [God's] character to one, two, or three of our favorite attributes, we will not see the full picture of who he is, and we will therefore not be thinking of the true God, only a god of our imagination." (pg. 33) People who ask the question, "How can a good God exist when there is suffering?" are really trying to dodge the greater issue: If God is truly good and I am not, then suffering comes from us, not God. It is much easier to blame God for suffering than actually get up and do something about it. One illustration from the book is particularly convicting: "A reporter asked Mother Teresa, Ã¢â¬ËWhen a baby dies alone in a Calcutta alley, where is God?' Her response? Ã¢â¬ËGod is there, suffering with that baby. The question really is where are you?'" The problem with suffering starts with us. Read this book and try to grasp the bigger picture that God is good and wishes no one to suffer. Hopefully, you will understand that God is on our side and that Satan is the author of evil. So blame him for suffering and then do something about it.
I received this book from the publisher as part of a blogger program. I am not obligation to write a positive review.
One of the biggest questions asked by Christians and non-Christians alike is "Why does God allow suffering?". Non-Christians often point to the problem of evil and suffering as conclusive proof that a loving God cannot exist. Many Christians struggle with God's goodness even though they know that the Bible contains many verses about the inevitability of difficult times such as "we must suffer many hardships to enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). It seems all of us need to know the truth about this subject so universal to everyone who has ever lived.
Randy Alcorn, who has written more than 40 books including Heaven, The Treasure Principle, and Safely Home, takes on this issue in a clear, concise fashion in his new book, The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering. His simple, easy to read style makes a complex issue understandable by any reader; one does not have to know "Christianese" to be able to grasp his points. He looks at the origins of evil and suffering and then takes us through the problem of sin, alternative explanations for evil/suffering, alternative worldviews on the subject, and the overarching resolution of those through Jesus' atoning death and resurrection. He tackles tough questions such as why there is so much evil in the world post-resurrection, why God allows it, and what the Bible has to say about promised prosperity for His people. He discusses what purposes God has in allowing suffering, and how we can handle tough times. A book by such a renowned Christian would not be complete without a clear explanation of the gospel and an invitation to salvation.
What I will carry away from the book more than anything, and I think Randy would feel his purposes in writing it successful to know it, are two things: that we can be enveloped in the comfort of God's presence even in the midst of terrible suffering, and that God's Word provides a sure, secure place of stability when our worlds rock and reel.
I encourage you to take a sneak peek at Chapter One and then dare you not to want to read the rest!
Much like how his smaller book The Treasure Principle was derived from his larger book Money, Possessions, and Eternity Randy Alcorn's book The Goodness of God - Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering is shaped by his larger work If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. I for one am very thankful that Randy Alcorn has developed these smaller works. At only 117 pages, The Goodness of God manages to cover a tremendous amount of information and does so wonderfully.
Alcorn uses Scripture to illuminate readers about God's attributes and to answer questions many have about suffering. The author also uses his own experiences and the stories of others to illustrate key points. This is done in a humble and straightforward manner. This book is a good read and is worth the time you will put into it. Note, I did not say it would always be an easy read, because it will make you think and may challenge some perceptions that you have or that you see reinforced in our culture and society on a daily basis.
I highly recommend this book.
I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing as part of their Blogging for Books Program.
Where is God when bad things happen? If He is a good God, why does He allow bad things to happen to good people? If you've asked these questions or similar ones, this will be a good book for you to read. The answers to these questions are not easy to understand, but I feel this book does a good job explaining them. I especially like the last couple chapters that bring it all together and helps you apply what you've learned to your everyday life.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for writing a review. 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
When I agreed to review the book, The Goodness of God by Randy Alcorn I found that it was not at all what I expected. Not knowing much about Alcorn other than he writes fiction, I expected a feel good book based on antidotal stories of Christians who had seen angels and been given winning lotto numbers or some such thing. Boy was I surprised.
Instead what I found was a book that explains what theologians call "The Problem With Evil." Basically, the problem of evil is defines in this manner: "If God is all knowing and all powerful, AND He is a God of love, then there would be no evil in the world. So either God is not all powerful or He is not loving. You can't have it both ways." This is a major topic in apologetics, and let's face it, a major issue with both Believers and non-Believers today.
I was in seminary in 2001 and let me tell you, many people were asking those type of questions on 9/12 of that year. As they still do today. Tornadoes rip through town and the towns are just gone. The Mississippi River floods it bank for three miles, and towns are just gone. Swept away. And people ask, "Why God? Why would you let this happen?"
In this book Alcorn gives some very straight and easy to digest answers. While he does not sugar coat it, he gives answers that are simple enough for most people to grasp. I started to write that I wish I had this book back when I took Apologetics in seminary. But really I am glad that I didn't. Because then I wouldn't be able to realize just how complex and issue Alcorn has tackles, and just how down to earth he has made it sound.
A great book for those with the Why question for God. You can find it here.