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.