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Suffering and the Sovereignty of God

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  546 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews

In the last few years, 9/11, a tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and many other tragedies have shown us that the vision of God in today's churches in relation to evil and suffering is often frivolous. Against the overwhelming weight and seriousness of the Bible, many Christians are choosing to become more shallow, more entertainment-oriented, and therefore irrelevant in the face

Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published September 13th 2006 by Crossway
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Christina Baehr
Mar 09, 2016 Christina Baehr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely helpful, passionate, and quite liberating. This book is an anthology of essays on suffering by a handful of Christian writers from a Reformed perspective, and it's never dry or detached (except for the chapter on ethnic suffering, which was - oddly - both, which lost the book one star for me). This is theology that will bring you to tears, in a good way.
Jan 16, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this for anyone, whether you have personally experienced suffering, know someone who has, or simply want to understand how suffering can possibly exist in God's order. It is rich with Scripture references, real-life people going through real-life suffering, and a strong calling throughout to seek God first or all else is meaningless. It is based on a conference held in 2006 so there is not one writer throughout the book but I think it is what gives the book more strength of vo ...more
Jared Daugherty
Jan 26, 2008 Jared Daugherty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Can we really praise God in our suffering? The answer is 'yes'. This book gives us a great challenge to cling fast to Jesus Christ in all our challenges especially in our sufferings.
Dan Glover
This volume addresses a very important subject and in light of the recent (and ongoing) disaster in Haiti along with many more in recent memory, this is a timely offering. For any readers already familiar with the works of John Piper, it will come as no surprise that this book is an exploration of the comprehensive and absolute sovereignty of God, in this case as it relates to the subject of suffering. The chapters are as different as the experiences and writing styles of the authors who pen the ...more
Bendick Ong
Oct 28, 2013 Bendick Ong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
Piper is such a prolific writer i have not come across anyone who has finished reading all his books (and am way short of doing so too). But to go back to my point, he is still a very readable author even if you dun subscribe to christian hedonism.

In fact, if you survey the titles of his books, one word also stands out: supremacy/ sovereignty of God. A calvinist, he believes in the full control of God over all matters – be they good or bad. And guess one of the biggest problems a calvinist has t
Wendy Rabe
Apr 08, 2008 Wendy Rabe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We went to the Desiring God conference where these messages were first delivered. John Piper's closing message is the highlight of this book: He lays the story of Joseph over the story of Adam and Eve. ("You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.") The sovereignty of God over the Fall has been startling for me. To see so clearly that all of history is not Plan B -- that the plan from the start was for God to display His glory through the death of His son -- changes the way I look at every ...more
Pat Roseman
I read this book after my husband's death. It was a great help as I waded through the messiness of grief.

from pg. 184 - Of course we know intellectually that God does not forget to be gracious and that he will indeed be compassionate. We know that he hasn't rejected us and that his steadfast love is forever. But there are times when our pain is so deep that truths in our mind just can't seem to penetrate the darkness that surrounds our hearts...This text [Psalm 88] is in the Bible so that when s
Jan 17, 2010 Lillie rated it really liked it
This book includes sermons and essays by several different authors on the subject of suffering and the sovereignty of God. All of the authors agree that God is completely sovereign, and we would have no pain or suffering unless He allows it. John Piper goes a step further and states that God ordains all suffering, even predestining an infant to be abused and murdered. This leaves me wondering, where then is free will? Does God cause all sinful actions of mankind that lead to conflict, illness, i ...more
Jun 15, 2013 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
I rate this a 5-star book because I think every Christian should read it at some time. I'm not a Calvinist, and this books presents suffering from a very specifically and exclusively Calvinistic perspective, so I wouldn't say that I agree with it 100%. However, I would still rate it 5-stars because the points it makes are important for every Christian to consider. The 95% of the book that I agree with was very thought-provoking and helpful. I would even say that, as far as the predestination con ...more
Deborah Tate
Jun 07, 2012 Deborah Tate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are some books that give pause and you stop and think, "Hmmmm...". Then there are books like Suffering and the Sovereignty of God that bring your thinking up short when it comes to the whole issue of why we suffer, why God allows it, why so much agony and pain. There are no pat answers in this book. The people who explain the various aspects of suffering in the presence of a sovereign God do so without being flippant, coy, or above it all. These are people who have been hammered on the anv ...more
Mark A Powell
Dec 30, 2013 Mark A Powell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One problem with suffering is that we often fail to consider it until we are in the midst of it. In those moments, we are unlikely to hear anything over the roar of our pain. Thankfully, books like this one take us through these issues before we face them, answering real questions for real situations. It takes suffering out of the academic realm and frames it squarely in terms of how it applies to our suffering.
I liked that the whole book wasn't by John Piper. Each chapter was by a different person. I ended up skimming over a lot of the parts about why Christ had to suffer because that's not an issue I struggle with. But the parts about suffering in our world today were good. There was a chapter that talked about what it means that it's all for His glory that was a good perspective and also a lot about the importance of pain.
Gary M.
Suffering and the problem of evil have been dealt with, mostly unsuccessfully, by philosophers and theologians for centuries.

John Piper and friends tackle these difficult issues in a collection of essays based on the 2006 Desiring God conference in the Twin Cities.

This much is certain: all of us will suffer and incur injustice. How we fit that fact into a God-centriq universe will determine our level of joy therein.
Edgar Soltero-flores
I can't do justice with a comment on this book in just one paragraph.
So I recommend reading this book for anyone who has seriously suffered, and doesn't think God is off the hook for suffering. Please approach this book expecting God to provide much; it's not perfect, but I assure it's the best I've read on the matter from authors who wrote on this subject in the past 100 years.
Chris Armer
Typical Calvinist understanding of suffering. God ordains everything to take place, even the evil. All for God's glory. The idea of suffering and sovereignty is a philosophical land mine for Calvinism. Perhaps I would have liked a more academic work on the subject. This book was aimed toward a broad audience.
Courtney Stillwell
This book is for those people who sometimes struggle with the "why God" syndrome. Why did God allow those planes to hit the World Trade Center.. why did God take Leslie (a 25 yr old mother) from her 20 month old baby and husband?.. why do good things happen to people who love Jesus? It is a good read for anyone really!
Laurie Garcia
I thought that this was an okay book. There are a few great chapters and passage that were very profound and made me think but overall it was an okay book. I would highly highly recommend "What's Good About Feeling Bad?" for those interesting in learning about the good that can come from suffering and for those looking for hope in the midst of suffering.
Todd Miles
Feb 18, 2013 Todd Miles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, ministry
This book is the fruit of the 2005 Desiring God pastor’s conference. All edited volumes are always a mixed bag. Each essay was helpful. For my preaching purposes, I especially appreciated Piper’s short essays. Talbot’s essay was good, but spent too much time on Open Theism. All of the essays were solid, some more helpful than others.
Mar 14, 2010 Luis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. learned that God is sovereign over all things. very Hard topic to Grasp, nevertheless is comforting to know that there's nothing a person can be affected by if its not first passed through God for permission;this should make us all the more ready to talk to God in prayer and ask him about anything.
Written by a compilation of authors who themselves have undergone great suffering. Some chapters are incredibly profound; others less so. A great read prior to the experience of personal suffering. Handles an epic tension very well.
Joe Haack
There are some very helpful articles in this volume, if you have ever wrestled with the reality of suffering and how it relates to God's control of all things. Powlison and Tada's articles are worth the price of the book.
Dec 26, 2010 Michelle marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
rec. by Pat Roseman, had some really good quotes she posted on her blog. Edited by Piper and others, contains stories from a variety of Christians about the reality of suffering, attempt to reawaken the american evangelical church to a God who is big enough to deal with 9/11, Katrina, etc.
Dennis Thurman
Good...and average. Being a compilation of authors, it was a bit uneven. Some I thought were simply better than the others. The book, as a whole, however, is definitely worth reading. It is encouraging for those facing suffering.
Ryan Micheal
Apr 16, 2014 Ryan Micheal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this for everyone! After loosing my mother to cancer in 2013, I was questioning God about death, suffering, etc. After reading this book I came to rejoice in God and I walked away with a better perspective on suffering and God's sovereignty.
Rose Walker
Jan 17, 2013 Rose Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book tackles a subject that most people struggle with. Talk about bringing peace in the midst of suffering through life. Anyone whoever has to go through tough times should read this book. For any who wonder WHY does this happen? Must read this book.
Stacy Moss
Feb 08, 2013 Stacy Moss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Piper will help you to have joy in suffering as you rest knowing that it is part of God's solvern plan.
Kathleen Trissel
This is a powerful book. There's a lot of depth to the topic of God's sovereignty and suffering. It's challenging, but in a good way.
Jun 29, 2009 Tara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tara by:
This book is amazing. John Piper continues to impress me with his ability to articulate the deeper meanings of scripture in a way that is understandable to someone who has not been to seminary.
Feb 04, 2012 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this free PDF copy from Desiring God, but I will be ordering a dead-tree version so that I can mark it up and refer to it again and again.
Renae Feathers
Nov 24, 2013 Renae Feathers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really helped me to wrestle with God's sovereignty in the midst of such pain & suffering.
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  • In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement
  • The Bookends of the Christian Life
  • Treasuring God in Our Traditions
  • How Should I Live In This World? (Crucial Questions, #5)
  • The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God's Story
  • For the Fame of God's Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper
  • Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood
  • Be Still, My Soul: Embracing God's Purpose And Provision In Suffering
  • Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God
  • Living for God's Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism
  • The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made
  • All Things for Good
  • God's Glory in Salvation Through Judgment: A Biblical Theology
John Piper is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years, he taught Biblical Studies at Bethe
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“The evil and suffering in this world are greater than any of us can comprehend. But evil and suffering are not ultimate. God is. Satan, the great lover of evil and suffering, is not sovereign. God is.” 12 likes
“Experiencing grief and pain is like falling off a cliff. Everything has been turned upside down, and we are no longer in control. As we fall, we see one and only one tree that is growing out from the rock face. So we grab hold of it and cling to it with all our might. This tree is our holy God. He alone can keep us from falling headfirst to our doom. There simply aren’t any other trees to grab. So we cling to this tree (the holy God) with all our might.

But what we didn’t realize is that when we fell and grabbed the tree our arm actually became entangled in the branches, so that in reality, the tree is holding us. We hold on to keep from falling, but what we don’t realize is that we can’t fall because the tree has us. We are safe. God, in his holiness, is keeping us and showing mercy to us. We may not be aware of it, but it is true. He is with us even in the deepest and darkest pit.”
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