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If God Is Good: Why Do We Hurt?: 10-Pack Paperback – May 18, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

RANDY ALCORN is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries and a best-selling author of over thirty books, including If God is Good, Heaven, The Treasure Principle, The Purity Principle, and The Grace and Truth Paradox. Randy and his wife, Nanci, live in Oregon.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Search We All Share

YOU MAY BE READING this booklet because you long to make sense of the evil and suffering in this world. You might be seeking answers to a philosophical problem, or perhaps you’ve lived long enough to recognize that suffering is inevitable, and you want to be prepared to face it.
   Or, if abuse, desertion, debilitating disease, or the loss of a loved one has devastated you, then your suffering isn’t theoretical or philosophical. It’s deeply personal; you need comfort, not intellectual answers.
   Three weeks after his thirty-three-year-old son Christopher died in a car crash, pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie addressed a crowd of twenty-nine thousand at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California: “I’ve talked about Heaven my whole life, and I’ve given many messages on life after death. I’ve counseled many people who have lost a loved one … But I have to say that when it happens to you, it’s a whole new world.” The day his son died, he told them, was “the hardest day of my life.”1
   When I spoke with Greg ten months later, his faith was strong, but his profound sense of loss remained. Pain is always local. It has a face and a name—in Greg’s case, Christopher. You and I can fill in our own names.
   The way we view such suffering will radically affect how we see God and the world around us. The problem of evil and suffering is the most common reason people give for not believing in God. 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?”2 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.
   I’m a fellow traveler with you on this road of suffering: As a teenager, I watched my friend Greg die from a horrible accident. I had to tell my mother that her brother had been murdered. My mom and my best friend both died from cancer, and an unjust lawsuit cost me a ministry I loved. I held my wife’s and daughters’ hands as we watched my shriveled father die. For twenty-five years now I’ve battled a disease that daily affects my body and mind, and will probably shorten my life.
   But all in all, if I’ve suffered a little more than some people, I’ve suffered a great deal less than many others.
   This booklet offers some of what I consider the most helpful perspectives discussed in my larger work entitled If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. During the two years it took me to research and write that book, I read books by atheists and Holocaust survivors, and interviewed dozens of men and women who’ve endured extreme evil and suffering.
   Along the way I’ve asked God to give me wisdom—and discovered that wisdom begins with the humility to say: there’s a great deal about this I don’t understand.
   In my own personal search for answers, I’ve beheld the God who says, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people.… I have heard them crying out…, and I am concerned about their suffering” (Exodus 3:7). I revel in God’s emphatic promise in the Bible that he will make a New Earth where he’ll come down to live with his people, “he will wipe every tear from their eyes,” and “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).
   Often, as I’ve contemplated potentially faith-jarring situations and sought his truth, God has wiped away my own tears. While my journey hasn’t unearthed easy answers, I’m astonished at how much insight Scripture offers. And after much wrestling with the issues, instead of being disheartened, I have hope. I’m encouraged—especially from seeing more of God’s goodness, love, holiness, justice, patience, grace, and mercy.
   That’s why I frequently quote Scripture in these pages. As you read along, I urge you not to let your feelings—real as they are—invalidate your need to let the truth of God’s words guide your thinking. Remember that the path to your heart travels through your mind. Truth matters.
   So as you deal with suffering, by all means speak with a friend or pastor or counselor, or join a support group. Do not, however, ignore God’s revealed truth about evil and suffering, or his character, purposes, and plans. Quick-fix feeling adjustments will never sustain you over the long haul. But deeply rooted beliefs—grounded in Scripture and empowered by God’s Spirit—will afford you mental and emotional strength to persevere and hold on to a faith built on the solid rock of God’s truth, no matter how fierce the storms of suffering.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books; Ppk edition (May 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601423411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601423412
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 2.3 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Before starting EPM in 1990, Randy served as a pastor for fourteen years. He has a Bachelor of Theology and Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Multnomah University and an Honorary Doctorate from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He has taught on the adjunct faculties of both.

A New York Times bestselling author, Randy has written nearly fifty books, including Courageous, Heaven, The Treasure Principle, and the Gold Medallion winner Safely Home. His books have been translated into over sixty languages and have sold over nine million copies. Randy has written for many magazines including EPM's issues-oriented magazine Eternal Perspectives. He is active daily on Facebook and Twitter, has been a guest on more than 700 radio, television and online programs including Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, Revive Our Hearts, The Bible Answer Man, and The Resurgence.

Randy resides in Gresham, Oregon, with his wife, Nanci. They have two married daughters and are the proud grandparents of five grandsons. Randy enjoys hanging out with his family, biking, tennis, research, and reading.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Qadosh2him on January 5, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am currently reading the larger version of Randy Alcorn's book "If God is Good; Making Sense of Suffering" and accidentally downloaded this book instead, thinking it was the other book. However, I was delighted to find that this abbreviated version of Alcorn's Bible based explanation of suffering and God's purposes in it to be immensely readable and faster paced than is the longer book mentioned above. I am currently going through a season of renewed suffering after a brief respite in the midst of many years of intractable pain...and frankly was struggling to accept God's purposes in allowing my suffering to be reintroduced in my life. I found comfort in this book as well as some chagrin that I had even questioned the purposes and wisdom of our amazing God. Randy is by no means pontificating or accusatory; rather, he sympathetically and gently approaches the topic with compassion, wisdom and with the evidence of much thought behind it. I could tell that this author is someone who has struggled both intellectually and experientially with the topic and problem of pain and has come up with answers grounded in Scripture that are at once satisfying, comforting and acceptable.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cari on January 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
In this book Randy Alcorn answers the profound question "How can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?"

"If God is Good" is a scripture-based look at what the entire Bible says about evil and suffering. Alcorn also includes insight and stories from people who have lived through suffering and evil and yet continue to remain strong in faith. The information is excellent, and the amount of research that went into this book is very impressive. At 494 pages, I think the size of the book may be a bit overwhelming, however it covers all aspects and delves deep into this topic. At the end of the book is a scripture index that lists seven whole pages of scriptures referenced in this book.

I rate this book 5 stars because it is very comprehensive, and well researched. This book is valuable resource for anyone.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By RonDebW on October 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After my wife and I lost our 32 year old son last year, we were searching the why. Even though we are strong Christians, we were dealing with a lot of emotions. We found this book in a store in Gatlinburg, TN and couldn't wait to read it. Although the questions weren't fully answered, we felt it gave some great insight and redirection of our thoughts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Urrey on March 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Exactly what I needed at the right time, this book has renewed my hope. This is my first book non-fiction by Alcorn, and if his other non-fiction books are anything like this one I will be purchasing more. I don't think I could finish the full with out having finished this first, it addressed the questions at the right pace without dwelling on something for too long. Last thing I needed was another 6-week bible study, and that's definitely not what this is. I feel this is a book I can refer to again and again when I need it, with no need to labor through endless chapters. What interested me first was the price, but I would recommend this book at any price. If God Is Good: Why Do We Hurt?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark K. Wickersham on September 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Another Randy Alcorn booklet I've recently read is If God is Good: Why Do We Hurt? A few years ago Megan purchased the 500-page version for me, but it continues to be a part of a stack of books I've yet to tackle. I was able to read the 75-page booklet on a recent trip, and if you desire to have a better understanding about the hurts of the world, Randy Alcorn can provide you the answers to this not so fun topic. As in previous books I've read by Mr. Alcorn, you'll find his answers supported with pages of Scripture. Below are the questions Mr. Alcorn, a man who has certainly experienced some suffering, handles with grace and truth. Check it out.

Introduction: The Search We All Share
How Is Suffering Related to Evil?
Where Do Evil and Suffering Come From?
What Causes Natural Disasters?
What Common Explanations Are Given for Evil and Suffering?
Doesn't the Reality of Evil and Suffering Expose God's Limitations?
Why Doesn't God Immediately Bring Evil and Suffering to an End?
Why Doesn't God Eliminate the Worst Forms of Evil and Suffering?
Can We Be Sure That Someday We'll Be Free of Suffering and Evil?
How True Are the "Health and Wealth Theology" Claims About Escaping Suffering?
Why Hasn't God Made the Reasons for Our Suffering More Clear?
Can We Really Trust God to Use Our Suffering for Good?
Is Suffering Really Necessary to Build Our Character?
What's the Right Way to Respond to Our Suffering?
Since Suffering Is Inevitable, How Can I Prepare for It?
Jesus - The Only Answer Bigger Than the Questions

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rick on February 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Excellent book to help sort through the many questions and confusion surrounding why God allows evil and suffering. A few chapters got quite detailed in doctrine but then returned to practical discussion.
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