Monday, July 25, 2016

Book Review, Kregel- When There Are No Easy Answers, Thinking Differently about God, Suffering and Evil by John Feinberg

Kregel Book Review Tour

When There Are No Easy Answers: Thinking Differently about God, Suffering, and Evil

I read this 160 page book primarily in one sitting.  The author explains in his preface that the book is his story of embracing suffering, thinking about evil, and God.  He is a theological professor at Trinity University, so his lay person's approach to his story was rich with doctrine and scriptural support, but he makes it very readable, and easy to comprehend. Some of his big struggles were just that, his personal spots that his mind might get stuck on like: why they didn't discover that his wife had the gene when they investigated it, and what about the future.  But his answers to his questions delved into his specific needs, but also embraced many wonders and levels that anyone could have with any type of suffering present in their lives.  So I appreciated his style and the richness of the teaching that was layered into his testimony.  

This updated version is what as an educator we refer to as meta-cognition, Mr. Feinberg thinks aloud on the pages of this book and in his updates, about his wonders, concerns, struggles, with God in the midst of a genetic terminal disease that his wife was diagnosed with when they had three young boys, active full time ministry together, and a whole different plan and expectation for their lives.  His book is also helpful with ideas of what people would say to him that helped, and what hurt or wasn't helpful. He also teaches you what kinds of help and offers really help individuals and families who are living with long term suffering and need in their family.  He delves into real concerns in each chapter like: how dismal life can seem, Recipe for Disaster, or How Not to Help the Afflicted, the Goodness of God, Hiding the Future, and Grace, Justice, and the Suffering of the Righteous, Deceived by God?, Living with Dying, and Providence and the Purpose of Our Lives.  

Each topic is handled with his testimony and his view on the lens of the Word of God and then how that looks in life, changes his thinking, or helps him cope and live with ongoing suffering, as well as recognizing God's plan for evil as it appears in the lives of believers.  I think his appendix at the back with biblical reasons that God might use when a person or family is afflicted with suffering was a highlight of the book for me.  

This book would benefit someone who is living with ongoing suffering in any form.  In my case I interact with many adoptive and foster families who are parenting children from hard places and by embracing and loving the kids, their home often faces evil and suffering on a daily basis. But it would also benefit a family who is living with a terminal illness, a disease that includes chronic suffering, but isn't terminal, grieving individuals, and those who interact with anyone who suffers.  So I see it as a great resource for church leaders and in ministry, as well as tender-hearted individuals who want to grasp how God works in a sinful world.  

I enjoyed this book, and the thoughts are my personal opinion. I was blessed to receive this book for free as a part of Kregel Blog Tours, but it is expected I give it an honest review and that is what I'm sharing here. My thoughts.