Posted in Books, Faith, REVIEW

Book Review: If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn

Wbooke all get the jolts in our lives, when the breath gets sucked out of us, and we grasp for understanding, at times, demanding, “why God . . . why?”  Sometimes it just does not make sense, and we wonder if God has stepped out of our lives or what we did wrong.  Randy Alcorn has written, If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil,  a very thought provoking, deep book, that does not give fluff answers.  It is over 500 pages of heavy questions with Scripture-based answers.

This past week, though it did not touch me directly, I learned of yet another child in my area dying of the choking game, a 15 year old boy tragically took his life in our town, and our pastor’s family was devastated with a close friend of theirs – a 26 year old dying in a car accident.  In today’s local paper  grieving mom remembers her toddler son who died less than 6 months ago from cancer and is using her pain to gain recognition for children with cancer.  I think of these families who are just beginning their grief walks of the never-ending missing of someone they love, yet being able to find joy again.  If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil is one that definitely can help those who walk these journeys in life.

Though the book is lengthy, and is deep and attacks so many different angles of suffering, it’s not too deep to grasp understanding of.  The author’s insights of others, whose lives have been ripped apart yet who find a faith in God  stronger than most can comprehend, gives hope and clarity.  Randy Alcorn writes this book with deep care for people, as a gentle shepherd.  I appreciated the many stories he wrote of others experiences, including MANY citations of books he referred to (loved the many C.S. Lewis books) and even webpages.

There have been many times I have questioned why my daughter, Jessica, who has had three open heart surgeries, has gone through so much.  A year ago at this time, after being diagnosed with spinal defects as well.  Little did we know a few months later, her spinal defects would bring us to the hospital to see a specialist, but instead she’d have open heart surgery to save her life.  In this book, Randy Alcorn addresses this statement:

God knows what good may arise from a disease or disability and what evil could come if that disease or disability were withheld or healed. (p. 232)

Mr. Alcorn continues to share about a young woman born with hypertelorism, a facial abnormality and quotes from her website:

“I don’t really like the phrase “birth defect” – it contradicts my theology.  A “defect” implies a mistake and I believe that God is sovereign.  If he had the power to create the entire universe according to his exact specifications, then my face was certainly no challenge for him!  If God is loving, why did he deform  my face?  I don’t know – maybe because with a normal face I would have been robbed of the thousands and thousands of blessings that I have received because of my deformities.  It seems odd, but usually our greatest trial is what most molds and shapes us.  It gives us character, backbone, courage, wisdom, discernment, and friendships that are not shallow.” (p. 232)

Mr. Alcorn also quotes the mother who wrote:

“I believe that God chose this sorrow for our family.  And surprisingly, what I first felt was a sorrow, I see now as a joy.  In all sincerity, if given such a chance, I would not change the journey our family has traveled.  We have all learned, we have all grown, and we love the Lord and His sovereign direction for our lives.”
(p. 232)

You can visit this young woman’s website, About Face.   I so appreciated this being shared . . . when I have questioned what has happened in our lives, and then almost feeling guilty when “good” comes out of our daughter’s pain, because I know she does not always see or understand the “good” yet.  I had been reading Mr. Alcorn’s book, Heaven, right before our daughter had her emergency open heart surgery this past December (another God-thing).  If you do know know of Mr. Alcorn’s pro-life stand and how he has endured hardships, read this article, The Pastor without a Paycheck.

This is a must-read book – one that should be bought in bulk to give out; one to read so we do not condemn those going through trials and pain and learn how to reach out to them; one to re-read as we continue in our walk with Jesus through life’s ups and downs. There is so much I could quote from If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil that touched me, but I would like to end with this quote that summarized a lot of life’s pain to me:

God has allowed moral evil in this world to show its ugliness, that we might forever know the difference between good and eveil and cherish the goodness he purchased for us at Calvary.  To skip the process of life under the Curse and get ushered into eternity already declared righteous, without facing suffering, might sound good.  But it would not accomplish God’s highest purpose for us.  He intends to bring about an enternal world where righteousness reigns because he has marvelously overcome evil.
(page 254)

The first chapter of the book can be read HERE.

This review on is behalf of
WaterBrook Multnomah Blogging for Books

Question was asked of Randy Alcorn: “What do you want your readers to take away from If God Is Good?”

Author:

Beloved KEPT Child of Jesus stumbling by faith ~ Married 33 years ~ Blessed Mama of 10 beside me & 2 at Jesus' feet ~ Homeschool mama of 26 years ~ Writer * Blogger * Reviewer ~

3 thoughts on “Book Review: If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn

  1. Loni, this was a great review. I’m glad you included the Christianity Today link to the article about Randy Alcorn. I did not know his background and all he went through. His book “Heaven” was such a comfort to me after my mom died. Thank you for sharing. I’d love to read this book.

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