This 60 page, large font book (ok, we will call it a pamphlet, shall we?) does a great job in discussing the issue of pain and suffering from a very human and practical perspective. Mr. Dickson compares the Biblical perspective of suffering with how Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and even atheism deal with the real-life issue of suffering. This comparison of perspectives on human pain was useful to me as it reveals that God’s way of addressing the issue is not only the only one that really makes sense, but is also by far the greatest comfort for those going through a period of suffering.
Mr. Dickson addresses some of the issues that non-believers or new Christians may struggle with, such as that God allows suffering.
Having gone through this quick read, I intend to use it as a tool to help some of my friends who are struggling with loss in their lives. We recognize that loss can have many forms, from the direct loss of a loved one to the loss of hope in lives without Jesus.
In some conversations that I’ve had with friends, they have often raised their opinion that God must either be unable to do anything about the suffering we see or he just doesn’t care. The points of view have usually been represented vigorously and are less a statement of what the individuals really feel or think and are more of a reflection of pain that they are suffering and have found no answers for. This book does a great job of providing some of those answers. Of course, the discussion is not deeply theological; however, it does offer appropriate Scriptural references and additional reading suggestions that it can be a great “jumping off” spot.
Life can be hard. If we hold fast to a faith in a “prosperity” God, then our faith will quickly be shaken when things don’t turn out the way we want them to go. Where do we go when we’re promised our “best life now” and that great life is not so great….perhaps it’s downright terrible. Has God abandoned us? Is God not able to fix things? Does God not care? Am I so sinful that God doesn’t love me?
If we hold onto a works based Arminian or Catholic perspective then, on top of the suffering, we face tremendous guilt because we have obviously not done enough to earn God’s favour.
If we are atheists then suffering can make us lose all hope and can render life meaningless and not worth living.
I recommend the hour or two that it takes to read this book. It may help you with your perspective on suffering and it may also equip each of us as we have opportunity to minister to those who are close to us and are going through a difficult time. The electronic version of the book is available for only CDN $5 on Amazon so what have you got to lose?