Why does God allow suffering?
In today’s world of convenience and comfort, suffering can seem senseless. This idea has even crept into the church, where many believe that if we make the right choices and do the right things, pain can be avoided. So it’s little wonder that when we do encounter tough situations, we face even tougher questions: Why does God allow suffering? Where is God when I’m hurting?
In The Power of Suffering, renowned pastor and author John MacArthur takes an in-depth, honest look at the reality of pain and hurt in the life of a believer. Filled with rich biblical truths and fresh insights, this study explores how God ultimately uses suffering for good in the lives of His children and offers encouragement and hope for the heavy heart.
The Power of Suffering includes a PDF featuring a guide for both personal and group study, which features discovery questions, suggestions for prayer, and activities, all designed to connect life-changing truths with everyday living.
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Tone deaf and shaming
I've been going through a period of extended suffering and when I saw this book it appealed to me. However, it was apparently written by someone who's never truly suffered and/or lacks empathy for other people's suffering. If the writers of scripture had followed this book's advice, many of the psalms (crying out to God in pain or disappointment) would never have been written. Because according to this book, true Christians know the key to suffering is to just keep a positive attitude.
"Jesus wept." The shortest verse in the Bible. And why did He weep? B/c He identified with the sorrow and suffering of Mary and Martha after their brother Lazarus had died. Even though Jesus already knew He planned to raise Lazarus from the dead in the next few hours. But keeping with the spirit of this book, Jesus would have responded to Mary and Martha with dry eyes and a rebuke.
To me, this book doubly fails. It not only fails to understand suffering and offer advice on how to face it, it tries to shame people who are suffering for not "doing it right." The only reason I would give this book 2 stars is that it does quote a lot of scripture (though the author doesn't seem to grasp at all the bible's message on suffering) and God's word never returns void. So hearing the scripture (even if the interpretation is terrible) still has value.