This book review has been written by Sharon Vihenda. Sharon is a 1st-year apprentice placed in PEFA Ruiru Centre serving as the assistant administrator and in the children’s ministry.
‘Where was God when that happened?’ is a book written by Christopher Ash. Ash is a pastor, teacher, and writer-in-residence at Tyndale House, Cambridge, UK.
The book is written in an orderly way that is helpful in following through. Chapter 1-4 talks of how God’s will is already done on earth, here and now. The last chapters from 5-7 consider how and why time will come when God’s will is done on earth in the same way that it is done in heaven.
In the introduction, the writer points us to the day to day tragic events that happen and how people often ask ‘where was God when that happened’ since He is supposed to be in control. He also points us to 6 models of the human view of the control of God. The models are blind fate, nature is all there is, God within nature, God the referee, Polytheism(gods), and God the puppet master. These views are a narrow and confined view of God who to us acts in a certain way or is limited by circumstances.
The author helps us to see how God is in control of every aspect of this universe. He helps us see how God controls both evil and good. We are also able to see that God is invisible but fully in control. When disasters occur we are quick to blame evil forces thinking that they are independent of God. The author helps us see how God permits evil and could use evil for his good will. He points out Biblical examples where things are done out of evil intentions but God uses it for His glory and for the good of His people, for instance, the story of Joseph, Job and even Esther where God is not mentioned at all but is in control.
This book has helped me to have a different view of suffering. We see Jesus, God’s only son undergoing suffering for the human race since it was God’s will for their redemption. We are comforted amidst tough times that God is in control even in the darkest moments. We see the God who wins at the end because his Sovereignty remains even when things are chaotic. We are also encouraged to be patient even when things are not working in our lives as expected. We are taught to totally cast our cares unto the Lord and to stop worrying ourselves. We ought to put our trust in Him amidst suffering and to know that He is in control of the future and His will is being done on earth as in heaven as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer.
I have read books on suffering but this one stood out for me. Blaise Pascal’s says that suffering is the natural state for a Christian. Indeed it is an inescapable part of the joy of our redemption.
I highly recommend it to all Christians for their enlightening on this rather hard topic and for their encouragement in their Christian walk which is marked with much suffering. I also recommend it to non-believers and atheists who most times major on the subject of suffering as their basis for the non-existence of God.