Wednesday, September 23, 2009

If God is Good Review

 Right off, I must admit, I was hesitant to begin reading this book.  When I had first been contacted by the publisher to consider reviewing it I knew that it would be incredibly relevant to the last few years of my life, along with being interesting and even helpful, but when it arrived in the mail later than I had anticipated and was much longer than I had assumed (494 pages!) the task seemed daunting. On top of all that, I could tell that this book was full of philosophy, meant to spur deep thinking and, to be totally honest, there is not a lot of room left in this tired mama's head for any of that!

However, after finally picking up the book I found myself captivated- a description I do not normally reserve for such well-researched works of logical non-fiction!  Randy Alcorn crafts his words on this deep matter in such away that I can hardly put it down (I say can because I am still reading and digesting it), and beyond that, makes a very complex subject relateable and personal, while being highly informative and enlightening.

Among other things, in If God is Good, Alcorn emphasizes the perspective which we bring to evil and suffering.  This perspective is something I have thought about a great deal in the past two years.  Two months from now marks the two year anniversary of my miscariage of my son Micah, and just a mere two weeks from now marks the one year anniversary of the loss of my first ever doula client and good friend's 5 hour old son.  Beyond these losses, there have been quite a few more tragedies and heartache in the birthing community as of late, and sometimes it can all just seem senseless.

Although I have never lost my faith, there have absolutely been times that I couldn't help but stop and question God.  Why were all of these heartbreaking, mind-boggling things happening to families who seem to deserve so much more?  Reading this book however, has offered many intensely powerful reminders about God's sovereignty and omniscience.  He knows everything that happens and He is utterly compassionate to our circumstances.  He has felt the deepest loss- the loss of His Son- and He knows our pain. That can all sound cliche', I am quite aware, but it is true.  Alcorn, however, addresses this topic in such a way as to not make peoples' pain seem inconsequential.  Goodness knows that the last thing I wanted to hear when loosing Micah was anything along the lines of, "God has a reason," or "Everything will turn out alright."  Even if those things were true, they were in no way comforting or healing to my soul.  Alcorn faces the tough questions of suffering and evil head on and answers them with refreshing honesty and compelling study.

 Alcorn does a wonderful job of not just addressing the "feelings" we have about suffering and evil though, he really delves deep and cracks open some very intense questions about why God allows things to happen and where the roots of these problems exist.  I think that anyone dealing with suffering or loss in their life should give some serious time and consideration to this book.  It is challenging and even hard to swallow at times, but is none-the-less a powerful examination of why this world is the way it is and how we can better deal with it.

I am still in the process of reading If God is Good (remember, the nearly 500 pages and mom of two young kids thing?!), but I can assure you that this will not be one of those books that gets placed back on my shelf half-read!  The incredibly relevant message leaves me no choice but to go deeper and absorb the critical points this book makes.  As Alcorn points out in the book, we will all probably face some sort of suffering or evil in our lives, so isn't it better to learn more about it before we actually have to overcome it? And if we are currently dealing with it, then this book is just as timely.

If you think that you or someone you know would benefit from this book, I encourage you to purchase a copy here.  I am quite sure you will find it every bit as helpful as I have.

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