Sunday, January 31, 2010
If God Is Good by Randy Alcorn
If God Is Good by Randy Alcorn
I highly recommend this book to anyone. I don't remember a time in my life that I wasn't a believer in Jesus Christ, Son of God, virgin born and resurrected after death. I was raised in a Christian family and going to church. In high school I began to have questions and didn't live like a Christian but I re-dedicated my life at 17 and haven't looked back since. I'm still a sinner but a sinner saved by grace and the Holy Spirit dwells in me to help me to grow spiritually.
Unbelievers like to act so superior to true Christians. They trot out all these philosophical questions that are suppose to put us in our place. AS if they think so much more deeply and we are just in denial. I can assure these smug unbelievers that most, if not all, true Christians have asked themselves these same questions. Guess what! There are answers. Maybe not the answers we like or understand but there are answers.
If there is a God, why does He allow evil?
How do you explain suffering if God is suppose to be so good?
If God is so powerful, why doesn't He just make everyone good and save everyone?
Why does God send natural disasters?
Why doesn't God stop all the evil and suffering?
Where is the justice?
Why do good people die?
Why does anybody die?
Why is there pain and suffering?
What's the point?
If you have these questions, believer or non-believer, then read this book. It's a long book at nearly 500 pages but it's easy to read. Alcorn does not talk above your head.
"Suffering and evil excert a force that either pushes us away from God or pulls us toward Him." Have you come across things in your life that leaves you devastated and you lose your faith in God? Or, it's cemented your trust and love in God? Those who are true believers have faith that God is in control and uses all things to our good and the good of others. It's faith in God whether we understand what's going on or not. Not that we don't have questions and some doubts at times, but, on the whole, we decide to trust God. "Nominal Christians" will drop all faith in God when they encounter the hard things in life. They may find out that their faith was in a pastor or television evangelist, in a church, in a denomination, in tradition, in family, in a job, in their savings account, etc. But when it's knocked out from under them, they sink because their faith was not in Christ. Many are what I call, "Cultural Christians". Their family visited protestant or catholic churches at times and, whenever asked, they say they are Christians. But they haven't had a life-changing experience of salvation. They are not born-again and haven't accepted Christ's offer of forgiveness and salvation. They prefer not to think about spiritual stuff and if they attend church it's marginal or it's like a club member going to club meetings. They pay their club dues (tithes) and are baptized (initiation in order to join the club) and enjoy the fellowship with other club members with the benefit that this club is for the whole family and their children are safely entertained. It has the added benefit of making you feel good about yourself. "I go to church" meaning, "God will make sure I get into heaven because I attended church."
These people are seriously decieved by satan. He loves to make them so comfortable that they never see the need for salvation and being born-again. But God is at work. Sometimes He uses suffering and pain to get their attention. Hard times can force someone to look up to God and beg His help. And He is always there, waiting for you to ask.
For believers, God can use suffering and pain to further refine us. Many times we can get stuck in patterns of sin. While we are comfortable in it, we may never give it up. And sometimes it has nothing to do with us, but is being done for the good of others in our sphere of influence. For instance a cancer patient being a godly witness to a nurse in a hospital and the nurse gets saved.
Alcorn takes his time to go into all these questions and helps us have a larger view of what is going on. We will never understand it all because God is the only one who is all-knowing, all-powerful, everywhere-present and can keep all things flowing and in control. But we can have some understanding so that we trust in God and His ways. This book helps prepare us for those hard times that come in life. It helps us to have some answers for people when they begin asking those same questions. It's a good tool to have on hand. When hard times come, get out your Bible, get on your knees and pull out Alcorn's If God Is Good!
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