Author: Randy Alcorn
Publisher: Multnomah
Book Review by: Laxmi Chaandi

Why does God allow suffering? That is the question asked, and is the title of section 10. I believe that is the main question in most people’s minds, as they begin to read this book.

Randy Alcorn answer the question this way: “Since God is the source of all goodness, his glory is the wellspring of all joy. What God does for his own sake benefits us. Therefore whatever glorifies him is good for us…and that includes the suffering he allows or brings into our lives”

“God refines us in our suffering and explains why ‘See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction…’ If you do not understand that the universe is about God and his glory – and that whatever exalts God’s glory also works for your ultimate good – then you will misunderstand this passage and countless others.”

The key point made here: God refines us through suffering. He wants to make us stronger and be better able to bear suffering. But he also does not give us more suffering and emotional or physical pain than we can bear.

It is interesting to know the benefits of the refining process as Alcorn discusses them. We will merely mention them here.

The Refining Process

  • Suffering can help us grow and mature
  • Suffering may be lovingly inflicted for a higher good
  • God sometimes uses suffering to punish evil
  • God can use suffering to display his work in you
  • Suffering in this life is part of our God-given destiny

The author not only answers the question of why God allows suffering in our lives, and gone into much detail, but also answers the other important question: “Why is there evil in our world?” and discusses that extensively. These two questions form the basis of this entire book, and they are looked at in depth in this list of sections of this book we present to you:

  1. Understanding the Problem of Evil and Suffering
  2. Understanding Evil: Its Origins, Nature, and Consequences
  3. Problems for Non-Theists: Moral Standards, Goodness, and Extreme Evil
  4. Proposed Solutions to the Problems of Evil and Suffering: Limiting God’s Attributes
  5. Evil and Suffering in the Great Drama of Christ’s Redemptive Work
  6. Divine Sovereignty and Meaningful Human Choice: Accounting for Evil and Suffering
  7. The Two Eternal Solutions to the Problem of Evil: Heaven and Hell
  8. God’s Allowance and Restraint of Evil and Suffering
  9. Evil and Suffering Used for God’s Glory
  10. Why Does God Allow Suffering?
  11. Living Meaningfully in Suffering

Conclusion: Final Thoughts about God, Goodness, Evil, and Suffering

Randy Alcorn has written a clear and concise text on an important issue of the heart and mind that troubles most people when they encounter evil and go through suffering. Read it to get your answers. Keep it to go back to it whenever you face evil and undergo suffering. This book is a great companion to have on your side.


Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries and a New York Times best-selling author. He has written more than 25 nonfiction books, including  Heaven, The Treasure Principle, The Purity Principle, and The Grace and Truth Paradox.

His novels include: Deadline, Dominion, Deception, Edge of Eternity, The Ishbane Conspiracy, and the Gold Medallion winner Safely Home. Randy and his wife Nanci live in Oregon and have two married daughters and five grandsons.