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If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil Paperback – June 17, 2014
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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, The Ishbane Conspiracy, and the Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. He has written twenty-six 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 and five grandsons.
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If God is Good traces evil back to the very beginning, from the moment that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6), and beforehand as well, when God's beloved archangel Lucifer became Satan, the thief who "comes only to steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10). The most beautiful section of If God is Good is Section Five, Evil and Suffering in the Great Drama of Christ's Redemptive Work, which reminds us of the beautiful truth of Romans 5:18 (NLT): "Yes, Adam's one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone." Add to that the beautiful part of John 10:10, "My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life!" (Exclamation point; emphasis mine)
Of course, that doesn't change Jesus' promise in John 16:33--that we ***will*** have trouble. Back in late 2009, I discovered what is known as the "health and wealth gospel" and, a year later, came to a near fatal point when I became mentally ill (God rescuing me through hospitalization). While I came out of the hospital far better than I was before, at times, when tragedy strikes, I fiercely doubted God. Thanks to Randy Alcorn's faithful service to our Heavenly Father, I have now found the cure for that doubt. Quoted, from page 381 of If God is Good:
"A woman who had based her life on the health and wealth worldview lay dying of cancer. She looked into a camera during an interview and said, "I've lost my faith." She felt bitter that God had "broken his promises." She correctly realized that the god she'd followed does not exist. She incorrectly concluded that the God of the Bible had let her down. He hadn't; her church and its preachers had done that. God had never made the promises that she thought he'd broken."
Yes, If God is Good miraculously reveals how the health and wealth gospel--which makes us feel great when we first hear it--ultimately "perverts our view of evil and suffering" (quoting Mr. Alcorn himself in the chapter for which he reveals this). There are many more astounding truths presented throughout the official 494 pages of If God is Good (not counting acknowledgements and indexes), such as 1) God has never put us through something he hasn't put himself through (pg. 214), and has made it that no one has suffered more than he (pg. 215); 2) The glorious, warm, and comforting truth that Christians have the assurance of one day living in a place where mourning, death, crying, and pain are obsolete (Revelation 21:4) and, among others; testimonies of people who have seen the worst offenses known to mankind--losing family members to murderers and car crashes, battling deadly diseases, etc.-who, in spite of all they suffered, managed to praise God with amazing, pure faith, teaching that one really can have joy from their trials (see James 1; verse 2 in particular). To quote my Lord and Savior himself, "I tell you the truth, I haven't seen faith like this in all Israel!" (Matthew 8:10 NLT, Luke 7:9)
I know some people may object to the title of If God is Good--and that's understandable. We, as Christians, know that God is good, and those who don't are "without excuse" (Romans 1:20). Each man and woman must ultimately judge the title of If God is Good for themselves, and speaking from my perspective, as someone who picked up If God is Good with great doubts in my faith; I tell you that it's written to those who ***are*** doubting God, and have turned to help through the pages of If God is Good. The material itself, in my opinion, far outweighs the title, and Randy Alcorn does a powerful job rebuking those who blaspheme God's name for the evil in this world. Alcorn even reveals personally to us that, believe it or not, ***God has already restrained 99% of evil from this world!!!*** (see Chapter 33, Understanding that God is God and We Are Not, pg. 355)
At the very end of the day, Randy Alcorn has written a book not only soothing and comforting, but also full of hope. Do not get me wrong: When Bad Things Happen to Good People (frequently mentioned throughout the pages of If God is Good) was one of the best books I've ever read on a level of empathy and, with it, comfort. But after reading that I still yearned for answers about where God is in suffering, because scripture repeatedly contradicts Rabbi Harold S. Kushner's conclusion that God is finite and, therefore, limited in what he can do. Now that I've found If God is Good, I'm deeply satisfied, and I cannot wait to read the follow-up to If God is Good: The Goodness of God, written by Randy Alcorn to help Christians (and those seeking to become Christians) find purpose in their suffering.
Thank you, Lord God Almighty, for giving the world a Christian as smart and caring as Randy Alcorn, and for speaking through Mr. Alcorn in the pages of If God is Good.
I also grew uncomfortable with the large amount of time focused on Heaven, Hell, and our impending sentencing.
For a book that's title implies comfort, I came away feeling anything but comforted.
Top international reviews
Randy Alcorn does not avoid any difficult question!
I am always recommending to everyone.