Life's Tough Questions

by Glen H. Jones

Pain, suffering, death, mental illness—why does God allow it? Steven Waterhouse tackles the tough issues, including abortion, but don't expect easy answers. Suffering takes so many forms and involves so many circumstances that it is difficult to generalize. However, Pastor Waterhouse gives us helpful insight into life's problems.

The author poses an introductory question: What good is suffering? He then offers sixteen possible reasons why God allows suffering. Among the cited reasons are 1) it teaches us dependence on God, 2) it drives us to prayer, 3) it draws us closer to friends and family, 4) it leads to confession of sin, and 5) it may glorify God. For the believer, however, the greatest result of suffering is that it makes us like Christ who suffered for us.

In the chapter on "Demons or Mental Illness," Waterhouse differentiates the symptoms between mental illness and demon possession. Some characteristics of demon possession are: alteration of voice, supernatural knowledge, superhuman strength, uncleanness, recognition of Christ's authority, and resistance to spiritual things. Those are not general characteristics of those suffering from mental illness, according to the author.

In the chapter on abortion and euthanasia the author cites Scripture on the sanctity of life, e.g. "Before I (God) formed you in the womb, I knew you" (Jer. 1:5). No one, not even physicians, has the right to play God and end life on his or her own initiative.

The last chapters deal with the attitude of the individual, society, and the church toward the mentally ill. Family and church members may experience guilt and discomfort when interacting with the mentally ill. The author, whose brother developed schizophrenia at age seventeen, encourages believers to give support and encouragement to the mentally ill and their families.

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