books similar to "God
Is Not Fair" have been written recently, but
Freeman's work is a specially noteworthyÖRather than easy, pat
answers, Freeman offers solid biblical responses. At each
chapterís 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 Godís absolute wisdom and justice. Bookstore
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
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 peopleís 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 "God
Is Not 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
Is Not 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
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. --C.S. Lewis
Why are there fleas? Have you ever
asked that question? No? (Obviously youíve never owned a cat or a
dog.) Well, just think about it. What purpose do they serve?
Granted, their existence created 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 and answer?
In the same breath we could ask:
Why is there pain? You know gut-wrenching grief and sorrow? Does it
have any meaning? Letís 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.
The philosophy seems rather hallow
and empty, however, when talking with people who are in the throes
of pain or who have endured hardship. What about a couple who loses
their long-awaited newborn child three days after birth, or the man
who has discovered the ugly realities about his lingering, crippling
disease, or the woman who has experienced an inexplicable series of
tragedies? What should we say when they ask, "Why is this
happening to me?" Or how do we respond when they plead,
"Please help me ĺ I never want to hurt this bad again."
I think of a woman named Germaine.
She is modestly attractive. A woman in her late forties with tired,
worn lines on her face. The circles around her eyes are puffy and
red from recent tears.
You can perceive her discomfort and
occasional embarrassment with the subject matter as she haltingly
describes her life in an unrehearsed manner. Listening intently, you
realize that her husband, Phil, to whom she had been married for 27
years, recently left her. It hadnít been easy, but together they
raised three children and pushed them through college.
They had struggled together to
attain the dreams they had shared regarding their family, church,
and business. Now it was all gone. All her dreams were smashed when
she discovered that her husband had happily moved in with a cute,
young woman on the other side of town. As if her husbandís
departure werenít enough to deal with, Germaine is angered by
scandalous remarks being made by neighbors and acquaintances.
Certain songs on the radio, certain
restaurants, and certain memories all form a conspiracy, haunting
her with the fact that she was once with her husband. But now she is
a separated woman facing a dark, complicated future all alone. The
quiet, gnawing pain is there ĺ always present. She looks at you
inquisitively, not with a clenched fist but with a searching heart.
"Why did Phil leave me? Is there something wrong with me? What
should I do?"
You pause. What do you say? You try
to form words out of hastily collected thoughts. Without another
moment escaping she adds, "I sometimes feel so confused and
helpless. And I used to handle tough situations so well." Her
emotional level rises slightly, "I canít compete with his
girlfriend. Itís really not Ďfairí! I feel like such a fool. I
gave Phil the best years of my life." She pauses and reflects,
while looking away, "All I know right now is that the pain is
so bad at times that I can hardly stand it."
What do you tell her? Should you
try to reassure her that everything will work out? That the good
guys always win? That justice will prevail in the end?
In a similar vein, what would you
say to Colin? He and his wife have struggled with guilt and
frustration resulting from raising a son in what they thought was a
caring, well-structured home environment, only to have a police
officer inform them that their son was in jail. The charges?
Possession of narcotics, breaking and entering, possession of stolen
goods, and resisting arrest.
Colin is understandable confused.
He knew in advance that there were no ironclad guarantees that came
with childrearing, but this took him by complete surprise. You
listen carefully as he says, "Where did we go wrong as parents?
We didnít pamper him. We read most of the books by Dr. Dobson and
others on the subject. I tried to be a good father. You know. I took
off extra time from work to go camping and fishing with him. We
tried to instill proper moral and spiritual values in him. I canít
understand why he would do this. I feel like a total failure."
He winces as tears fill his eyes and he starts to sob, "I
canít begin to tell you how much this hurts!"
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 ĺ
the pain of a broken heart. And this is the way it is with life.
Ideas and dreams are conceived with great enthusiasm, but the
birthing 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 Germaine
and Colin, I have felt my own emotional pain while crying out.
"I never want to hurt this bad again."
Over the years, I have become more
understanding of and patient with people who rail 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
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, is that the perpetrators all 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 not.
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 ĺ in a state of shock.
But first, in the next chapter, 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 Godís
healing. As you read "God Is Not Fair," ask Him
to help you apply the principles you will be learning.
Thereís a scream, "Oh, my
God!" Waves of panic engulf the beach. The once-quiet
sunbathers point wildly. A lifeguard races toward the pounding surf.
Thrashing furiously, pair of hands suddenly reappears out of the
deep. The drowning person is in an intense struggle between life and
Think with me for a moment. Do you
identify with the drowning soul, the trained lifeguard, or the
powerless spectators? You are in at least one of those categories.
Let me help you understand.
Right now, the state of your
emotions may be saturated with sorrow and you may be grasping, like
a drowning person, for the answers to a multitude of "why"
questions. Maybe, like the spectators, you are feeling gross
inadequacies as you try to assist a friend who is hurting. Or
possibly, like the lifeguard, you are in the people-helping
profession. You have been through your own deep waters and are
feeling used up, needing to be recharged.
∑ Have you ever stuck out your
trembling lower lip and said, "Itís just not fair"?
∑ Have you ever been hurt by a
snake in the grass, and then felt like you had to blab it to
∑ Are you angry with God for
something you felt He did to you or a loved one?
∑ Have you ever had your very own
personal pity party? For a day? For a week? For a month? For a
∑ Are you in the midst of a
crisis, feeling like youíre one hairís breadth away from
∑ Do you struggle with deep roots
∑ Do you have a problem receiving
and/or giving forgiveness?
∑ Have you ever felt like nobody
really understands the pain you have experienced?
∑ Have you encountered personal
tragedy some time ago and are still searching for meaning in your
If you answered yes to any of these
questions, this book is for you. God understands your tolerance
level for suffering, and He wants to make you a tough person with a
"Oh, no, not another negative,
hell-fire-and-brimstone book!" I hear someone groan. Youíre
absolutely right - this isnít one of those.
"But what about the title? I
always thought God was fair." Hold on just a momentÖ
"Fair" is a fine word,
but as you will see, the genuine meaning has been distorted. To help
clarify its meaning the word "fair" is set off by
quotation marks throughout the book.
Seven years and 10 foreign
translations later. Thatís where we are with the book you now hold
in your hands. This was the book that burned within. It had to get
out onto paper, even if for nothing more than personal therapeutic
value. The response has been heartwarming ĺ from adults and teens,
professionals and non-professionals, religious and non-religious.
As I have crisscrossed various
parts of the world I have realized one thing: There is a drama of
pain behind every pair of eyes. The "why" of suffering is
the most potent assassin that haunts, taunts, and seeks to destroy
the strong and the weak alike.
This book is not filled with
glib answers, which serve only 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. 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.
--Joel A. Freeman, Ph.D.
here to order this book now
Before ordering this book
I want to check out
Dr. Freeman's other four books."