My 52 Books #14 “How Long O Lord?” by D.A. Carson


It’s been a few weeks, but I am back at it.  I have loved reading a book a week, but with school starting and attempting to adjust to being a parent with 2 kids, I thought I’d hang this up for a little while to get settled.  It was good though, since it gave me more time to dig into this subject.

I was honestly unprepared for this book.  About to go to sleep, I thought I would read a few chapters before conking out and it was like a brick thrown at my head.  He begins by describing the internal torture of a parent who’s child was accidentally crushed by a garbage truck backing up, then asking the question, “where was God?”

He prefaces the book by expressing that this is not intended for those who are currently going through such struggles, but describes his work as a “preventative medicine”, so that when (not if) suffering happens, we will have an idea as to what is going on and Who we can turn to as our sovereign refuge.

A number of questions are addressed, such as “If God is good, how could He allow suffering and evil?”  and “If he is good, is he incompetent to prevent it? or is he just unwilling?”  These are very good questions that people will tend to ask when tragedy strikes.  But sadly, many will ask these questions and assume one or the other and come to a conclusion without seeking the truth.  This is why such a book was written.

When we grasp that the root of evil is found within and not from without, we begin to attain an awareness of why things are the way they are.  Most people can look at the world and see that there is a problem, but WHY there is a problem is usually misinterpreted. Some might say, “If God is good, why doesn’t He just eliminate the evil in the world?”  That question comes with the presupposition that the evil is “out there”, and assumes that God runs off of our standard of goodness.  If He were to truly take out evil, you and I would be swept away with the current, since we have done evil.

Though we have a root of how evil entered the world (Genesis 3) and while Carson brings to light many of the reasons why it may happen in the lives of believers and non-believers alike, the question of why God allows it to persist is not for us to declare.  We simply do not know, but we can rest in His promises that He will do away with it one day (Revelation 21:1-7), and in His great mercy He has stepped in to save us from our evil by the death of His Son Jesus.  His physical resurrection being the stamp on death itself, putting death to death.

Through repentance and faith in Jesus for a right relationship to God, we are given assurance of a future hope, though the world is decaying around us.  By faith we are united with Him in a very tangible way.  “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:5) The resurrection of Jesus was to be the first of many more to come.  And a physical eternal heaven with God is the greatest reality to look forward to for those who are in Him!  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Though suffering and evil persist, we know that God is good, and that He will make all things new.  An amazing reality to look forward to!

“When we suffer, there will sometimes be mystery.  Will there also be faith?”

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About Dan Bartol

I decided to walk in my old mentor's footsteps by starting a blog primarily dedicated to reviewing 1 book per week. While I typically read books on theology and philosophy, I am hoping to stretch myself a little by reading other genres of literature. I don't know if that will always happen, since I'm trying to read what will benefit me at school, but I am certainly going to try when I get the chance. View all posts by Dan Bartol

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