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Randy Alcorn's Blog: Suffering and Evil

Turning Bad into Best

Wheat GrassC. S. Lewis, in The Great Divorce, wrote that “both good and evil, when they are full grown, become retrospective… Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.”

Surrendering to God’s Wisdom

Night sky / Photo credit: James WheelerWhen I need a point-of-view adjustment, I read the last five chapters of Job. That’s where the focus shifts from Job’s questions about his suffering—and his friends’ proposed answers—to God’s majesty.

 

His Strength and Grace in Our Weakness

Man at the Ocean / His Strength and Grace in WeaknessAs a young pastor I loved God sincerely; but like my tavern-owner father, I was independent, self-sufficient, and prone to do things on my own. Christ’s words, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), rang true—but I did a lot of things without drawing on his strength.


God Doesn’t Love Us on Our Preferred Terms, But on His Own

God's unfailing loveGod’s constant love for us will never let us down, no matter how things appear. We often define love in superficial and trivial ways, setting us up to question God’s love in hard times. 

Real Choices without Consequences?

Real Choices without Consequences? / Potter's HandsRomans 8:28 promises that God will work everything together for good for those who love Him and keep His commands. It’s not easy to understand how God can take the results of evil choices and create good. In this conversation from my novel Deception, Jake and Clarence challenge Ollie’s desire for both freedom to choose and freedom from evil’s consequences.

Beauty from Ashes

Beauty from ashes - Tami's squash plantWhere we live we are able to burn our yard debris during certain times of the year. Each fall we clean up dead and dying plants and toss them into the burn pile, having deemed each plant as having served its purpose and its season having come to an end. When we do burn the pile, the fire burns extremely hot, and because of its size and intensity, it will often smolder for days. When it does eventually burn out, what remains is a large pile of ash. 

Crisis and Tragedy

Crisis and Tragedy: If you spell God with a capital G you will always spell tragedy with a lowercase t. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and he became a prisoner in Egypt. But years later Joseph could say to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). The moral? If you spell God with a capital G you will always spell tragedy with a lowercase t

Does God purposefully hurt us through trials?

thornsWhen the hard things come upon us, we tend to use them as a way of saying, “This is so bad, that if God really is in charge and He sent this to me—or even just allowed this to come into my life—He’s being cruel to me.” The logic goes, If I were all-powerful and all-wise, I would not do such a thing to my child. For me to do that would be cruel.

Fulfilled Hope

Fulfilled Hope / Silhouettes at sunsetHope is a much stronger word in the Bible than it is for most of us today. The hope of deliverance and resurrection is based solidly on the promise of an almighty truth-telling, covenant-keeping God who never fails and is never thwarted, who always keeps his promises. Whenever we hope for what God has promised, we don’t wish for a possibility; we anticipate a certainty.

 

Five Reflections on the Anniversary of 9/11

9/11 MemorialWhere was God September 11? Where He always is—exalted in the heavens, indwelling the hearts of His children, comforting the afflicted, stretching out His nail-scarred hands in the offer of a redemption that costs us nothing, but cost Him everything. Where was God? Right there in the dust and ruins of broken planes and buildings and bodies, somehow accomplishing a purpose that will bring Him glory (Isaiah 48:9-11).


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