It is perhaps the most-asked question
in any time period: "Why does God allow suffering?"
Certainly, every human experiences
pain and rejection. If the difficulty is long-term, one can almost
be driven mad with grief or anger. We want to know why. Physical and
emotional problems are so draining, we become obsessed with
"fairness." How do we reconcile our concept of a powerful,
loving God with the reality of a child's death? Or greed? Divorce?
Often, we don't. That is exactly
where Joel Freeman finds many of the people he counsels. Rather than
giving pat answers, he relies on spiritual tools to deal with pain.
It's a method that has worked remarkably well, and one that can
indeed help you or a loved one through a personal valley.
Using a unique blend of humor,
personal vulnerability, compassion and tough- minded insights, Joel
Freeman tackles the basic questions that most people ask when
life has handed them a raw deal.
You will also understand how you
have already passed the invisible, spiritual test being waged this
very moment for the attention of your heart. When you read this book
you'll embarked upon a remarkable, life-changing journey. By the
way, Joel is the
president of The
Freeman Institute™ and has written four
other books. Plus he facilitates a seminar
program entitled: "Coming To Terms With Life's Raw
By the way, Dr Freeman's books are
currently in 28 foreign translation editions. Check out the open
letter inviting you to participate in more of these foreign
-- or continue reading --
Foreword by Paul Meier, MD
for the Devil
to the Justice of God
Lose Your Spit and Vinegar
God’s Got Rights, Too!
10. How to Balance
Your Fuss Budget
11. Mercy Rewrote a
12. Wow! It’s
14. Sirens and Smoke
15. Skyscraper Theology
16. Grief in Many
17. God Can, but
books similar to When
Life Isn't Fair have
been written recently, but Freeman's work is a specially
noteworthy…Rather than easy, pat answers, Freeman offers solid
biblical responses. At each chapter’s end he asks pointed
questions that help readers come to grips with their feelings and
reflect on the truth of God's word. In easy-to-understand terms,
this compact book explains a profound theological mystery. After
finishing this book readers will have the courage to face life's
seemingly unfair circumstances and to have faith in God’s absolute
wisdom and justice. Bookstore
-- 144 PAGES
When I became paralyzed in a diving accident, I felt that God owed
me explanations. My questions were not unlike those of most people
who suffer. With wit and disarming style, Joel Freeman helps us find
at least some of those answers.
Eareckson Tada, Author and Speaker
It is helpful volume,
Freeman combines compassion and tough minded insights in his
discussion of the age-old question about evil and suffering. An
honest reading of the book will dry some people’s tears, and start
Cook, Past Pres., National Religious Broadcasting
acceptance and care speaks to the heart of many who search for
meaning and purpose. In touch with human suffering and pain, his
personal faith is witness to God's mercy and love. Freeman's moving
message in the book When
Life Isn't Fair
is one of profound hope.
Estadt, Ph.D., Chm., Loyola College
doesn't God abide by my personal standards of what's fair and what
isn't? I discovered a most satisfying answer through the stories,
humor, and good thinking of Joel Freeman.
Mains, Chapel of the Air
When Life Isn't Fair is
one of the best, commentaries to date on the heartaches, trials, and
tribulations people experience during life's journey. I saw this
book as a means of producing blessing, peace, and assurance to every
intellectual level and age group.
Impe, Author and Speaker
HERE to order this book (or continue reading)
horrors have followed the same course, getting worse and forcing you
into a kind of bottleneck till, at the very moment when you thought
you must be crushed, behold! You were out of the narrows and all was
suddenly well. The extraction hurt more and more and then the tooth
was out. The dream became a nightmare and then you awoke. You die
and die and then you are beyond death.
Why are there fleas? Have you
ever asked that question? No? (Obviously you’ve never owned a cat
or dog.) Well, just think about it. What purpose do they serve?
Granted, their existence creates the jobs necessary in the
conception, testing, manufacturing, and marketing of anti-flea
shampoos and sprays. But why are they here on this planet? They are
dirty and nasty and they reproduce at an incredible rate. Why did
God deliberately create such seemingly unnecessary pests? Why do
they exist? Is there an answer?
In the same breath we could ask:
Why is there pain? You know, gut-wrenching grief and sorrow? Does it
have any meaning? Let’s face it; life presents many challenges to
all of us.
Some people piously portray
emotional pain as a brilliant blessing in disguise that really is
our best friend. Somehow pain is supposed to be a useful tool,
teaching us valuable lessons.
That philosophy seems rather
hollow and empty, however, when talking with people who are in the
throes of pain or who have endured hardship. What about the couple
who loses their long-awaited newborn child three days after birth,
or the woman who has discovered the ugly realities about her
lingering, crippling disease, or the man with two kids who has lost
his wife in the terrorist attacks of September 11th,
2001? What should we say when they ask, “Why is this happening to
me?” Or how do we respond when they plead, “Please help me —
How do a cope?”
A child is conceived in ecstasy,
but birthed with much pain. The sharpest, hottest tears of a parent,
however, are not caused by physical pain. They are the result of a
sorrow that is more deeply rooted in the human soul than the body
— the pain of a broken heart. And that is the way it is with life.
Ideas and dreams are conceived with great enthusiasm, but the
implementation of those concepts invites suffering and pain.
Some people are bombarded with
heartache and tragedy, while others appear to navigate through
life hardly touched by difficulty. Yet everyone endures emotional
pain. Suffering is a universal language.
I know that language. Like many,
I have felt my own emotional pain while crying out, “I never want
to hurt this bad again.” I have been through some tough stuff –
some of it far too personal to include in a book.
On Friday November 16th,
2001 Shirley and I were awakened at 2 AM by the shrill ringing of
the telephone. Nighttime phone calls usually mean trouble. And what
we heard verified our suspicions. It was horrifying. Our 33-year-old
nephew, Michael, had tragically careened off the road and was dead.
We both were numb as we made our way in the chilly darkness across
the street to the beautiful home he had built for his wife (30) and
two children (ages 2 and 4). His wife was sobbing. As the morning
progressed, whenever another family member arrived, a new wave of
grief filled the living room. The next week was a blur. Visiting the
accident site with his father and brother. The funeral. Weeping.
Laughing at the memory of Michael’s legendary youthful escapades.
And then weeping some more.
As time has passed, I have
become more aware of the excruciating physical pain Michael
experienced for many years, the result of an inherited illness --
ankylosing spondylitis, a severe type of rheumatoid arthritis.
Eventually it would have fused his spine together, so that he would
not be able to bend over.
Later his wife, Joy, showed me a
letter that he had written to her about two years prior. Michael
dealt with the mountains and valleys just like us all, but he never
complained about his pain in my presence. That was the way he lived
his life. The depth of his mental and physical agony is somewhat
revealed in the following vignettes:
recently I have been able to paint on a smile and pretend that
everything was fine. Over the past month or so, my façade has begun
to crack…I apologize for the times of venting, withdrawal and
attitudes of gloom…I hope that by reading this [letter] you will
better understand what is really going on in my mind…My worst
struggles are when the symptoms change. As I find myself not being
able to do the things I could do before, I get upset. My other
concern is dignity. The thought of asking for help with things I
could always do before is tough. There is also my pride. People know
something is wrong with me but when they see me I look normal. If
somebody has a cast on their foot, everybody understands and
sympathizes. But when people say sympathizing things to me, I feel
kinda stupid or embarrassed. There is no proof. People might think
I’m just a big whiner. Very few people truly understand what is
wrong with me. Most people think I just have a bad back, but so does
2/3 of the USA…My worst fear is wondering if I can be a good dad.
The last few weeks I felt too bad to play with the kids. I didn’t
even want to be there. I just wanted to be left alone. ‘Leave me
alone, I don’t feel good’. Does that sound like a good father?
Justifiable or not, it’s not the way things should be. I’m
getting desperate…our minds are more fragile than we think. There
are many well-documented cases of criminal suspects confessing to
crimes they never committed after hours of relentless and suggestive
police questioning. People reach a point of desperation where they
are willing to do anything to stop the inundation of negative input
to the brain…this unpredictable random cycle of knee, back, and
hip pain, stomach cramps, stiffness and fatigue is driving me crazy.
Every week is something new…”
I had never before realized the full extent of how remarkable
a man Michael had been to his family, friends and associates. The
perseverance and poise he displayed was in spite of the continual
“private hell” he experienced in his knees, back and hips. The
shooting pain tested the outer limits of his endurance.
By the way, what is your “private hell”? It may be
something physical, mental, emotional, financial, relational or
spiritual – or a combination of all. For decades I have worked
with many people of privilege, including professional athletes,
highly-successful businessmen and folks in the music/entertainment
industries. I have also worked with many people who experience the
dregs of humanity on a daily basis, at street-level. And many who
experience life in between. Regardless of one’s station in life,
there is a drama of pain behind every pair of eyes.
Over the years, I have become more understanding of and
patient with people who, like Michael, are overwhelmed by the pain,
some even railing out against God in the midst of personal trauma.
You see, I too have asked similar questions and made similar
statements when placed in the crucible of “unfair”
circumstances. When in those situations, I have been amazed by the
depths of rage I have been capable of experiencing.
The Holocaust in Nazi Germany is
a constant reminder of what lurks beneath the surface of people,
even those immersed in education, science and religion. What
disturbs us the most, though, for the most part is that the
perpetrators looked so normal. Emotional pain forces all of us to
confront that unpleasant stuff that lies just under the thin veneer
of professionalism. Is that the primary task of pain? Maybe. Maybe
In the future chapters I will
relate a limited picture of my own struggles and will share
time-tested principles that have sustained me before, during, and
after “unfair” events that have left my emotional system raw and
bleeding — in a state of shock.
The “why” of suffering is
the most potent assassin that haunts, taunts, and seeks to destroy
the strong and the weak alike. Questions hit us all -- those who are
currently in the midst of suffering, those who are trying to assist
in some way, and those who are in the people-helping profession,
feeling empty and exhausted, needing to be recharged.
This book is not filled with
glib answers, which serve to drive honest strugglers into deeper
disillusionment. In fact, I am rather suspect of those who seem to
have all the answers wrapped up in a neat, tidy package: Ten
Principles for Happy Sufferers. Instead I want to hand you some
tools. It will take longer, cost more and be messier that previously
anticipated. But well worth the upward, the inward and the outward
journey. I also want you to know that we are in this together. I am
learning and growing right along with you.
Before you have finished
reading, you will have discovered ways to improve your course in
life by making your attitude behave. You will also understand how
you have already won the invisible, spiritual battle being waged
this very moment for the attention of your heart.
But first, you are about to meet
an unusual group of people in a rather unique drama. A place has
been reserved for you.
- Have you ever gone through a
painful, hurtful experience that caused you to question the
"fairness" of God? Think back on the specifics of the
situation and try to remember what your innermost feelings were at
- Your past, present, and future
"unfair" experiences are prime candidates for God’s
healing. As you read When Life Isn't Fair, ask Him to help
you apply the principles you will be learning.
here to order this book now
Before ordering this book
I want to check out
Dr. Freeman's other three books."