Book Review: Suffering And The Sovereignty Of God

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper and Justin  TaylorThe bulk of this book came from talks given at the 2005 Desiring God National Conference on “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God.” Sections of the book come from speeches originally given by Carl Ellis, John Piper, David Powlison, Stephen Saint, Dustin Shramek, Join Eareckson Tada, Mark Talbot and Justin Taylor.

Each essay is rooted in the authors’ own experiences in suffering. Each author has experienced suffering: two have cancer, two are paralyzed, and two have lost loved ones on the mission field. All of the authors share their suffering and perspective of God’s absolute sovereignty and a desire to seek His glorification within their suffering.

Against the overwhelming weight and seriousness of the Bible, many churches are choosing to become more light and shallow and entertainment oriented, and therefore irrelevant to massive suffering and evil. The popular God of fun church is simply too small and too affable to hold a hurricane in his hand.

When we say that God is sovereign we are not merely saying that God has the power and right to govern all things, but that he does govern all things, for his own wise and holy purposes. This is not to say that God does not create, send, permit or even move other to do evil, for Scripture is clear that nothing arises, exists, or endures independently of God’s will. In Isaiah 45:7 God declares, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.”

Why is it that we want every chapter of our lives to be good when God promises only that in the last chapter He will make all the other chapters make sense.

This book will be a difficult read for many seeker-sensitive Christians. God’s glory is found in the good and bad in our lives. Suffering does not feel good, but it is not by accident.

About Mike

Mike, 49, grew up in California and spent 38 years of his life there. He received an undergraduate degree in Political Science, graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary and is pursuing a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before accepting God’s call to fulltime missions, Mike worked in the California State Senate for 12 years. He became a Christian at the age of 20. Mike was a Ruling Elder at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church(PCA) for seven years. While at Soaring Oaks, Mike served as the Director of the High School Youth Group, Sunday school teacher, and instructor of evangelism. His cross-cultural missions experience includes five short term trips to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Peru (Lima and Cusco) through Mission to the World (MTW). He has volunteered with World Relief by teaching and counseling international refugees. Mike has also attended cross-cultural church planting conferences in New York and Orlando and completed the Perspectives course on the World Christian Movement. He attended Bible Study Fellowship for two years. He is a certified instructor through Evangelism Explosion and is a certified trainer of the Darkness to Light child sexual abuse prevention program. He completed MTW‘s Disaster Response Training. Mike is an experienced speaker and author. Over 70 of Mike's articles on missions have been published and he has written three books. He is a trained and experienced mentor, discipler, leader and a passionate teacher of small groups and Bible studies. Mike received an undergraduate degree in Political Science, graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before accepting God’s call to fulltime missions, Mike was a Ruling Elder, Youth Group Leader, adult Sunday school teacher and evangelism instructor at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church in Elk Grove, CA. Mike is an experienced speaker and author. Over 70 of Mike's articles on missions have been published and he has written three books. He is a trained and experienced mentor, discipler, leader and a passionate teacher of small groups and Bible studies. From 2007 to 2017 Mike served as a fulltime missionary for MTW. Mike served as Team Leader, Church Planter, and Seminary Professor. Mike and his wife Erin served in Honduras in Central America and Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa. Mike currently serves as the Director of the MTW West Coast Hub where he trains and mentors new missionaries from CA, AZ, & NV. Mike is also busy writing his next book.

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