Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Let me start off by saying this. The first time I ever heard of Randy Alcorn was at a Desiring God conference a few years ago on the perseverance of the saints. My initial impression was not entirely positive (probably due to my immaturity in a lot of areas at the time), but since then both myself and my wife have read a fair amount of his books and really enjoyed them. His fiction is well written and in some cases, very inspiring and helpful. Safely Home was one of the better books I read two years ago and while I haven't read Heaven (eventhough I own a copy), I am sure I will be greatly helped by it.
Since the years since the Desiring God conference I have experienced pronounced suffering in various forms. It seemed that if it wasn't physical it was mental. If it wasn't mental it was emotional. If it wasn't emotional it was something else. The valley that God had me in (and still does to some extent) was very painful and many questions arose in my mind that if not for the grace of God, may have shipwrecked what little faith I had left. This last December I was sent a copy of If God Is Good and slowly made my way through it. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this book is a blessing to the church.
One thing I noticed instantly when receiving the book was its size. This book is large. However, the chapters are really very short and easily read in under 15-20 minutes. This makes reading a book of this size a real pleasure. While the content is heavy and thought provoking, it is given in small doses which is really quite brilliant. It gives you time to meditate on the stories shared and the arguments made.
The subject matter ranges from refuting atheist ideas to personal stories that have helped the author over the years. All in all I was very impressed with the research that went into writing this book and, even more so, the care that was taken in delivering it in a loving and sensitive way. I think that for anyone dealing with any sort of suffering (which is all of us) or the weight of evil in the world this is a great book to have in your collection.
I have heard people say recently that churches these days are not taught how to suffer well. I think reading this book is a great step towards alleviating that problem and moving us towards a more healthy view of both suffering and evil and the God who is Lord over all of it.
(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Thanks WaterBrook!)