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The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the midst of Sufferingby Randy Alcorn
Synopses & Reviews
A Search We All Share
During the two years it took to research and write my large book If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil, many people asked me what I was working on. I expected my answer--containing the words evil and suffering--would prompt a quick change of subject. Most, however, expressed keen interest and asked penetrating questions. Several launched into their own stories, as if having received permission to uncork the bottle. What, after all, is more universal to human experience than suffering? And what can be more important than the perspective we bring to it?
When It's Deeply Personal
You may be looking for answers to a philosophical problem or an intellectual struggle. Or you may be looking less for answers than for hope. When a child has fallen off a bicycle, her father doesn't give a lecture about nerve endings, skin tissue, and the role of blood as it's pumped by the heart. He reassures the child that he's there for her, and everything will be okay. For you, the answer may simply be God really does love me.
If something like abuse, desertion, debilitating disease, or the loss of a loved one has devastated you, then suffering isn't theoretical or philosophical. It's deeply personal.
In writing his magnificent story of redemption, God has revealed truths about himself, us, the world, goodness, evil, suffering, and Heaven and Hell. Those truths teem with life--the blood of man and of God flows through them. God speaks with passion, not indifference. To come to grips with the problem of evil and suffering, you must do more than hear heart-wrenching stories about suffering people. You must hear God's truth to help you interpret those stories. Maybe you're holding on to years of bitterness and depression. You blame someone else for your suffering--and that someone may be God. You will not find relief unless you gain perspective. But perhaps you fear that any attempt to gain perspective will deny or minimize your suffering, or that of others. I promise you, the Bible doesn't minimize suffering or gloss over it, and neither will I.
At times, each of us must snuggle into our Father's arms, like children, and there receive the comfort we need. God doesn't just offer us advice, he offers us companionship. He doesn't promise we won't face hardship, but he does promise he'll walk with us through our hardship.
A Barna Research poll asked, If you could ask God only one question and you knew he would give you an answer, what would you ask? The most common response was, Why is there pain and suffering in the world?1 This isn't merely a problem; it's the problem. And for the culture at large, it appears to pose a greater difficulty now than ever. Unlike the average person in earlier centuries, we today have a far higher assumption and expectation of comfort, health, and prosperity.
When people take time to reflect on life's meaning in this world, no question looms larger than this one: If God is good...why all this evil and suffering?
Through Pain and Tears…
Finding a Way to God’s Heart
For those times when we’re wounded by broken trust, assaulted by disease, or victimized by evil—or when we’re crushed to see such things happen to people we love—Randy Alcorn offers something solid to hold onto.
In this specially focused condensation of Alcorn’s If God Is Good…: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil, we’re continually guided into a deeper glimpse of God’s loving ways and higher purposes—the very things we’re often most blinded to whenever we battle pain and anguish.
Alcorn avoids superficial or sentimental responses, and instead presses forward boldly to explore all the troubling doubts and questions that agitate within us when we confront suffering and evil.
The issues are far from simple, the answers far from easy—but Alcorn shows how the way of suffering—a path that Jesus himself followed more than anyone else—can ultimately become a journey into wholeness and even logic-defying joy.
About the Author
\Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries and a best-selling author. His novels include Deadline, Dominion, Deception, Edge of Eternity, Lord Foulgrin’s Letters, The Ishbane Conspiracy, and the Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. He has written numerous nonfiction books as well, including Heaven, The Treasure Principle, The Purity Principle, and The Grace and Truth Paradox. Randy and his wife, Nanci, live in Oregon and have two married daughters.
Table of Contents
A search we all share — Tragic choices — Determining the origins of evil and suffering — What's wrong? I am — Accepting the reality of inherited sin — Alternative answers — Examining explanations for evil and suffering — A clash of worldviews — Investigating moral relativism, atheism, and the "problem" of goodness — The great drama — Reviewing evil and suffering's roles in Christ's redemptive work — Why so much evil? — Questioning God's allowance of evil and delay of justice — God's control and our freedom — Discovering how god sovereignly allows yet rules over our choices — Are we promised health and prosperity? — Recovering a biblical view of health and wealth — The world we long for — Exploring god's eternal solution to evil and suffering — Wanting more clarity — Wrestling with the reasons for our suffering — What we can do — Finding perspective in our suffering — A final word: this changes everything.
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Religion » Christianity » Christian Life » Death, Grief, Bereavement