The reason suffering is such a problem for many skeptics is due to what they call an insoluble trilemma. They make three claims and insist these are irreconcilable. These claims are
- God is all-powerful: He can do anything He wills.
- God is all-loving: He cares with an intense value for His creation.
- Evil is a reality: Suffering is an all-pervading part of this world.
The trilemma is introduced in the first chapter, and in the remainder of the book Zacharias responds to it and proves that faith in God is rational and that there is meaning in suffering that mankind does not always understand. As he begins his defense of the Christian faith he asks a question, "Why is it that we finite, self-serving, time-constrained, so-often-wrong human beings think we have all the wisdom needed in which to castigate God and hold Him before the bar of our wisdom within our timetable?"
I have read most of Zacharias' books and believe this one to be one of his most valuable, especially for pastors. Every week we deal with people who are experiencing suffering of one type or another. Every Sunday when we step into our pulpits we are speaking to hurting people. For some of them, their pain is so severe that they are not sure how they will move forward with their lives. Others are struggling to hold on to their faith and are not even sure they want to. They question what have they done to deserve this pain they are experiencing? Where is God? Does He care? If He doesn't care about what I'm going through why should I care about Him? For some it's less painful to decide that perhaps God doesn't even exist than to believe that He doesn't care.
There is a good chance, pastor, that as you stand in your pulpit you are speaking to people who are struggling with these very questions and hoping you will give them answers to those questions. I believe this book can help you answer those questions and give your people the comfort, the meaning, and the hope they need.