Bestselling author Randy Alcorn offers his faithful fan base a powerful alternative to the doom and gloom messages that individuals across the world are inundated with on a seemingly moment-by-moment basis. He writes about suffering in a hard world not from man's perspective, which is limited and frequently shortsighted, but from God's eternal perspective. Keenly aware of the worldwide suffering thanks to immediate electronic access, he shares how easy it is to grow overwhelmed and disheartened by the mere scope of pain that we hear about.
Alcorn is always a sensitive writer who offers hope, encouragement and a can-do (with God's help) attitude. He gives this same type of uplifting and often heavenly perspective on humanly woes, which is essential for traversing this life as God intends. One of the most valuable aspects of this devotional is that in each of the 90 chapters, he reveals something distinct about God's character as shown throughout Scripture. He gently reminds and urges Christ followers to spend time daily searching out the Bible before tragedy hits, before they're forced to their knees by life's hardships, before they feel they have nowhere else to turn. Alcorn explains that knowing who God is and what He has promised is necessary for enduring and then overcoming the challenges that have the potential to undo individuals.
Throughout this hefty little book, readers will not only discover fresh ways to view suffering, they will realize how valuable suffering is to the development of their character and how it aptly equips them to be agents of change and of comfort to others at a later time. Taken from the principle that God never wastes anything, Alcorn beautifully unveils how God uses the past personal pain and tragedies that befall men and women to bring hope to those in the undercurrent of suffering today. Each of the 90 devotionals opens with a section of Scripture that touches on a specific theme followed by a real-life scenario that illustrates the biblical principle. Alcorn then closes the chapter with a heartfelt prayer that neatly brings together the Bible verses, the story, and its spiritual takeaway in a thoroughly satisfying conclusion.
A few of the topics Alcorn writes about include the oft-overlooked relationship between man's suffering and Christ's own, and how this unites them in a mysterious yet powerful way. He spends a good deal of space reminding Christians that this earth is not their real home and what they're enduring today (or for their time on earth) is but a wink in the space of all eternity. He also helps readers understand what the Bible says about heaven, giving Christ followers an ever-growing desire to be there with Christ and all their loved ones who have passed on. Given how tumultuous the days are at present, Alcorn's primer in “studying” God's goodness in the midst of pain will be greatly appreciated and effectively put to good use.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on November 13, 2011