Why? Looking at God, evil and suffering
IVP, £8.99, 176p.; Pbk.,ISBN 978-1844746194
Suffering must be one of the greatest hurdles to faith and most of us ask Why? at some time as so many of the bad things that happen in this world are difficult to reconcile with belief in a loving God.
Sharon Dirckz interweaves her book with five stories of personal suffering and doesn’t shirk from talking about her husband’s illness and the difficulties it has caused her and her family. The first story is about Frances who lost a daughter who was born with a severe brain abnormality and the wonderful support she and her family received through a very difficult time. Frances felt their faith enabled them to entrust Millie’s life to God.
The next chapter explores the attitudes to different belief systems to evil and suffering. Hindus believe the good and evil we encounter are the result of a battle between up to three hundred and thirty million gods. The Buddhist view is that there is no remedy for suffering in this world or any prospect of a future world without suffering. Muslims believe you should be grateful if you suffer as God wishes to test you. Christians believe that God is good, loving and powerful but might also allow suffering.
The second story about personal suffering is about Will, an ex-army officer who lost his first wife and young son in a car accident and how he had to try and help his daughter who survived come to terms with her loss. Charles’ story is about the terrible suffering of people in Somalia in the 1990’s and to this day and the fragility of life there.
This is followed by a chapter on why God allows natural disasters and diseases with differing views about this discussed.
Rachel was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but went on to have a daughter and she believes that though she can’t run now when she meets Jesus face to face she will be able to run.
Sharon concludes that even though we don’t understand everything about suffering it is still possible to believe in the powerful, loving God while acknowledging the reality of evil and suffering and seeing life from this perspective helps us make more not less sense of our hurting world. I certainly found her book helpful in coming to terms with evil and suffering.
Contributed by: Anne MacRitchie, BSc, who is Scottish Secretary of Christians in Library and Information Services and worked previously in the Library of the University of Aberdeen.