Where is God? discusses a topic that resonates with every human – why do we suffer and what is God’s place in that suffering? I really appreciated the compassionate and honest tone of the book. Townsend addresses head-on the tendency to question God and to doubt God in the face of trials.
Chapters 6-11 are the best parts of the book where the author explores hope through trials, God’s sovereignty, God’s transforming power, community, and faith. For me the whole key to the book is in this quote, “Even if the situation does not change, life can be good.” This is what I need to read when I’m struggling with pain — life hurts, but it’s still worth living. I did glean encouragement from reading Where is God?
BUT…Where is God? is rooted in needs-based Christian psychology rather than a nouthetic/biblical approach. (For more about the differences between these two approaches read this article.) So for reformed readers, the book is going to come up lacking. Townsend’s basic answer to the question of evil/pain/suffering in the world is man’s freewill (chapter 4). The book’s emphasis is on living through pain and gaining from pain instead of on glorifying God in the midst of our pain. So it’s a very man focused book rather than a God focused book. I find that slant to be a weakness because it’s only showing one facet of the larger picture of suffering.
Where is God? is also not a scripturally saturated book. Generally Townsend first shares his own views and then offers a scripture to verify the idea rather than starting with the Bible and drawing conclusions from it. Some points didn’t have any scriptural support at all and left me wondering where Townsend came up with the ideas in the first place.
I received this book free in return for my honest review. Thanks, Thomas Nelson Publishers!