Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2014 in Uncategorized
When I read the title to Jennifer Rothschild’s recent release, God Is Just Not Fair, I was excited to read it.
Shortly into her book I read: “If you feel weighed down and burdened, look to Jesus and his cross — focus on the generous love it represents. When you’re really hurting, think about what you really deserved and thank him for what you got instead. You got grace; you got peace; and you got unconditional love that will carry you through any sorrow. And both you and I got the best gift of all — fairest Lord Jesus.”
Though I agree, I felt concerned that the book would continue with true but soft and warm theology without substance. I was looking for practical advice when I opened her book. I feared I would be waiting for what she wouldn’t deliver. I was wrong.
The author has life experiences that will emotionally engage her wounded readers.
“I was sitting alone in my office, enveloped by the dark shadows of depression and feeling stifled by blindness…As strange as it may sound, I was reluctant to pray for healing. I had learned long ago to seek God rather than healing, and in doing so I had learned to be content. Praying for healing — even allowing myself to want healing — was risky. I had worked too hard to become content, and I didn’t want to shake up my world by exposing my tender heart to the pursuit of healing. Sometimes to hope is to hurt — and I was in enough pain already.”
That kind of genuine faith and fear is engaging for people who have both and feel alone in their pain.
“Blindness had never been easy, but that summer it became an oppressive, unyielding barrier. I felt imprisoned, emotionally and spiritually. And I battled the fear that this was not only my present but my future — that I would always be trapped in this horrible confinement. I was numb and exhausted, and I just wanted out.
Blindness is a wall I know I will never get over. The only way out is if God picks me up and carries me. “God, are you there?”
The author challenges us to assess our anger.
Take a moment to reflect on these questions and consider how holding on to your right to be angry could be impacting you:
1. Does my anger really serve me well?
2. Does my resentment change my situation for the better?
3. Does my bitterness enhance my relationship with God and others?
4. Whom does my anger really hurt? Me? God? Others?
When we are enduring hardship, perhaps the better questions to focus on are not about the whom of suffering but about the how:
• How will God use this redemptively in my life?
• How will he use this loss for my gain?
• How can I cooperate with my loving God’s master plan through this current suffering?
• How can this possibly help me grow or change?
The why of suffering is sometimes never answered. But to ask the how of suffering allows us to begin to see the beautiful redemption of what God can do in and through our suffering.
The greatest contribution this book offers is helping faithful, fearful frustrated people feel less alone. The author is honest. She asks good questions. She admits that some answers may never be answered. She reminds of of Scripture, but doesn’t deny some of the tension biblical characters felt when their prayers weren’t responded to in satisfying ways.
Most importantly, the author reminds us, “Jesus Had an Unanswered Prayer Too.”
“If you wonder about the problem of unanswered prayer, you are in the best possible company. When Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” he was calling out to God, but he heard no answer. Did you ever think of that? Jesus knows how it feels when God doesn’t answer an anguished, heartfelt prayer. Jesus knows what it’s like to feel abandoned by God because he is silent when you most need to hear his voice.”
Don’t expect a simple, step-by-step plan to relief, but you can anticipate that faithful, fearful frustrated readers will feel less alone. You’ll appreciate the author’s honesty. If you take time for thoughtful engagement with her questions you’ll find the book will help you move forward in your struggle with your thoughts and frustrations when your circumstances scream that “God is Just Not Fair.”
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”