Not just another book on ‘Why me, Lord?’
An encouraging and insightful new book answers one of life’s big questions
Published: 9 August 2011(GMT+10)
“Why do bad things happen, if there is a loving God?” is one of the most frequent questions people ask and that we receive as a ministry. Dr Carl Wieland’s latest book, Beyond the Shadows, is a powerful explanation of the biblical answers to the problem of death and suffering, from Carl’s own experience in the aftermath of a terrible car accident on the Australian outback. It doesn’t shy away from the tough questions, such as:
- Why does God allow bad things to happen to people who love Him?
- Doesn’t the existence of suffering prove that God doesn’t exist?
- Why doesn’t God always answer prayers for healing?
- Does God ordain evil and suffering? Couldn’t He change circumstances to prevent bad things?
The following is based on CMI-US, CEO Gary Bates’ foreword to the book.
I’ve heard many lame answers over the years like, ‘Well, we don’t know why God allows such things. We’ll find out when we get to heaven.
In the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ is described as the Creator of the universe (Colossians 1, Hebrews 1:3). In addressing His disciples, He said something that applies to all of mankind: “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). And there is nothing surer than that. The world is full of pain, whether it is via natural disasters, mankind dispensing hurt on itself or the process of death that will eventually overtake us all one way or another. Are any of us truly reconciled with the death and suffering aspects of this creation, and if God is love, then why doesn’t He do something about it?
In my experience most people, Christians and otherwise, seem to constantly struggle for answers as to why bad things happen to them or their loved ones, as if we somehow should be exempt from such things. To be frank, I’ve heard many lame answers over the years like, “Well, we don’t know why God allows such things. We’ll find out when we get to heaven.” Something else Jesus said in the aforementioned passage was, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” We may ask, how can one have peace just by knowing in advance that pain is coming? In the last part of this passage Jesus also pronounced “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Like the author of this book, I believe that only the Bible has the answer, but also that it will only make sense if we take in, try to understand and accept its big picture from beginning to end—Genesis to Revelation.
I believe that only the Bible has the answer, but also that it will only make sense if we take in, try to understand and accept its big picture from beginning to end—Genesis to Revelation.
Even so, while on this Earth, we will still grieve at the loss of loved ones. In the last few years my family and I have felt the pain and loss of an infant niece due to birth defects, and I have seen my beloved big sister and wonderful father ravaged by cancer until it eventually took them away. The Apostle Paul described death as an enemy—an intrusion into the perfect world God had created. It was not the way God intended. But, should I, as a believer in Christ, whose family has dedicated itself to His service, be treated any differently from a non-believer?
Through painful personal experience, Dr Carl Wieland, my friend, mentor and fellow traveler in creation ministry for the 20 plus years I have known him, is well qualified to consider these questions. And not just because He was involving with helping many people face such issues while practicing as a medical doctor. A horrific head-on crash at highway speeds with a fully laden fuel tanker in the Australian Outback, agonizingly witnessed by his young family, left him clinging for life by a thread. Despite dozens of operations to repair his shattered and torn body, Carl not only survived, but the ministry he was instrumental in building (even before the accident) has spread to offices around the world, bringing hope and the truth of the gospel to millions. This ministry counters the naturalistic theory of death that pervades our public education systems. The materialistic worldview says that there is no ultimate purpose to life because we are nothing more than a random cosmic accident via evolutionary processes in a meaningless universe. This view has caused people to view death and suffering as normal, or worse still, that death and struggle, survival of the fittest, is the scientifically proven method that God used to create. If this is so, then He must be a cruel uncaring creator. Such a view has immunized millions from seeing this decaying world as the fruit of our rebellion from our Creator God. Ironically, death, because of God’s grace, now provides the mechanism for believers in Christ to be restored and reunited to their Creator.
As you share Carl’s tragic journey you will cry and laugh, and find great hope and solace. But most of all I believe you will once and for all truly comprehend the Good News that a loving God has indeed done something about all the death and suffering. I’m sure most us can recall one of the most famous passages in all the Bible. If not, read John 3:16, then read this book, and then read the passage again. You will then fully appreciate the meaning and purpose of our existence.
Soli Deo Gloria
(For the glory of God alone)
We wholeheartedly recommend this new book for you and your family if you’ve ever had questions about death and suffering. If you have friends or family struggling with this issue, we are making it inexpensive through bulk pricing to make it more convenient for you to give away copies to others.
Carl, Gary, and other contributors have written many articles on the topic of death and suffering:
As always, I appreciate your great work. One profound truth we can add to your articulation of the problem of suffering is the unique suffering of Jesus Christ. That is, we can discuss the unique suffering of Jesus both as an apologetic concerning the problem of evil AND as our comfort in this broken world.
Jesus suffered in a way totally unique in the history of the world. Not only did he suffer from flogging and crucifixion, but he suffered on behalf of literally billions of human beings, experiencing the collective guilt and the fury of God’s wrath that would have been visited upon every single person whom Jesus was dying for. Jesus suffered the collective agony of all the redeemed people in history that no human being can even begin to comprehend. If, for a moment, we could just imagine the greatest sufferer from all human history (whoever he or she may be), and measure the sufferings of that person in comparison to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, we would find the difference infinitely staggering. Jesus is the quintessential sufferer, par excellence. For all the horrible suffering that is going on in the world, Jesus suffered infinitely more, and promises to one day alleviate the suffering of all those who put their trust in Him for eternal life. God has ‘put his money where his mouth is’ in the person of His Son.
Thanks for all the good work you are doing to defend the Word and proclaim the truth of the Gospel.