QUICK HIT: Why Suffering? You could fill a library with the books on this subject, but in my opinion, there is none better for the average reader than what Zacharias and Vitale offer here. Clear, simply stated answers confirmed through a wealth of resources.
We ask it every day. We ask it in the big things and the small things. We ask it when our world implodes around us and when we explode into our world. It is a universal question asked in every human language and guttural moan imaginable. It is asked the world over, from the richest to the poorest, from the East to the West, from ancient times to our modern days. It is a question inherent to our being, the answer to which provides the answer for our ontological longing.
Zacharias begin the book by elaborating on the question. What it is the people mean when they ask this question? How are we supposed to answer? Among other things, he develops the difference between the intellectual question and the personal question. In other words, the beginnings of an answer lie in why the question is being asked. Is this just another intellectual exercise for a skeptic or have they recently been through a tragic loss. Zacharias suggests that while the problem of evil can be discussed philosophically, it is usually best answered pastorally.
From this introduction, Zacharias and Vitale trade chapters on various responses to the problem of suffering. Space prohibits a full analysis, so suffice it to say that Zacharias writes on the responses of freedom and morality while Vitale writes about grace, the Cross, and hope. Zacharias also writes a magnificent chapter midway through that compares the Christian answer to the answers from Buddhism, Islam, and naturalism.
Every chapter in the book is a goldmine. I suggest you take just over a week to read this book and focus on one chapter a day. Let the material sink it, grapple with it, think through it, and incorporate it into your own life.
One thing to note: Ravi and Vince could not have more different writing styles. Ravi’s writes the way he speaks, with such precision and clarity that I can hear the lilt of his voice in my head as I read his thoughts. Vince’s writing is more rugged and conversational and also fits his own personality and speaking tone. It’s jarring, at times, if you read more than one chapter at a time, but does not affect the quality of the book.
You could fill a library with the books on this subject, but in my opinion, there is none better for the average reader than what Zacharias and Vitale offer here. Clear, simply stated answers confirmed through a wealth of resources. Everyone needs to read this book because everyone deals with this question. Do yourself and those around you a favor and pick it up now.