Friday, January 21, 2011

The Goodness of God - Randy Alcorn

The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering by Randy Alcorn
Multnomah Books 2010

Rating: 8
Readability: 8

Impact: High, I believe.
Doubting the goodness of God has not really been an issue to me...which scares me a little.
Am I overlooking something? God not testing me? Or...will God test me? These are all frightening thoughts. But I can be confident that God is good. What that will mean for me in the rest of my life...I don't know, but I do not doubt that it is true!

Read it Again: Yes...
Recommend it: Yes, especially for people who struggle with this issue. And for those who are watching someone or going through intense suffering themselves.

What to Expect

Short, direct chapters that end up covering all sort of subjects.
After all, if we don't believe in God's goodness we certainly have a messed idea of everything that following Him means.

He addresses many basic doctrinal issues, uses stories as illustrations, and tells stories of real suffering people.

Well-written, poignant, and often convicting.

My Squib

I really enjoyed this book, however, I thought Notes of a Tilt-a-Whirl covered many of the same issues more directly and beautifully. But that was only part of N.D. Wilson's book and I do think this is an excellent read for people struggling with this issue or more of a "topical" study.

Randy Alcorn did force me to think about some things which I hadn't before and certainly made me realize how important it is that we don't have doubts in this area...and how many people do. How can someone even want to exist if they do not believe God is good?

He talks about American health and wealth religion and other issues that really brought up the lives of the Biblical writers and heroes. Paul did not have a healthy, wealthy life. We are called to follow Christ. Are lives are to look like His.

In many ways this seems like a non-issue because if we think there is good and evil, then we have to believe there is a God that makes these definitions...unless it is just every man for himself. Or every man creates his own god with its own definitions.
But if God makes up these definitions who are we to impose them against Him? How can we possibly understand this? Us--Sinful. Fallen. Incapable of "goodness" without God!

Like pretty much every issue, this seems to come down to a wrong view of who we are and who God is.

God is past our understanding.
But we know that He is all good, all merciful, all powerful, all knowing. Completely sovereign. What that means or looks like, we might not be able to comprehend, but we can be confident that it is true!
All His plans work together for God to those who fear Him. And all things are His plans.

How different I should be. Believing in God's sovereignty is an action, not something we read heavy tomes about in a dusty armchair and just believe in our head.

When something falls out of the fridge seven times in a row, when I trip and fall on my face in the middle of a restaurant, when I smash into something in our room in the dark...all these things were written into my story. How do I react? How often do I get frustrated?

How about bigger things? Discontentment. Regret. Tragedy. Death. Am I angry at the Author of these things?

As strange as it sounds, I believe sometimes it is easier to accept the the "big" things.
At least the big things in my life. God has given me a glimpse of how these are working together for good. How He uses tragedy for joy. How He uses evil for good.
Yes, they're hard-- suffering is real, but we know He has it under control.

How about when you break your toe by hooking it on a stool walking through the kitchen? Or when your sibling gets on your nerves by asking the same question a hundred times? Do we see God orchestrating all these things? Or do we lash out at His plan for us?

I certainly have some work to do...

From the Book

I loved this tidbit about G.K. Chesterton-

The London "Times" once asked various writers for essays on the topic "What's Wrong with the World?" G.K. Chesterton's contribution was perhaps the shortest essay in history.
"Dear Sirs:
I am.
Sincerely yours,
G. K. Chesterton"

For turning us toward God, sometimes nothing works like suffering. C.S. Lewis said, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

God calls us neither to victimization nor fatalism, but to faith in his character and promises.

Good book. Glad I read it. Now I want to retain some of it and put it into action!

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Necessary Note: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. :-)

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