Review by Susan Verstraete
The Goodness of God, by Randy Alcorn, Multnomah, 2010
“If God is good, why is there suffering in the world?”
According to a Barna Poll, that is the number one question that people in our culture would like to ask God. But in his book, The Goodness of God, Randy Alcorn asks us a different question. “What if the universe is not about human comfort and happiness?”
We all probably know someone in our Christian experience who has walked away from their faith as a result of suffering—either their own suffering, or the suffering of someone they love. “But,” Alcorn writes, “that’s actually a good thing. Any faith that leaves us unprepared for suffering is a false faith and deserves to be abandoned.”
So, instead of walking away, or doubting silently while we pretend to have our “best life now,” Alcorn encourages us to call on God. “God graciously invites our cries,” he says, “so long as we remain willing to listen to His response.” Authentic faith in suffering begins in painful honesty before God.
Alcorn goes on to discuss the problems of evil and natural disaster. He explains how competing religious and philosophical systems fail to resolve the problem of evil, and finally, he show us what God has (and has not) revealed in the Bible about the suffering we endure in our own lives and observe in the lives of others. Throughout the book, Alcorn explains and illustrates difficult concepts with a simple, understandable style.
The book would be excellent to keep on hand for counseling situations, but may be best used as an individual or group study before it is needed, to prepare all of us for our own inevitable suffering.
The Goodness of God is 117 pages and is a good introduction to the topic more thoroughly covered in Alcorn’s 500 page book, If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil.
Both books are available from Amazon for about $10.00 each and through the Mid-Continent Library system.
Susan Verstraete is the church secretary at FCC.