Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur reviews a new book by Fr. Michael White and Tom Corcoran.
Unfortunately, we all go through times in life when things just don’t make sense to us. Bad things happen for seemingly no reason. To make matters worse, in those dark days of life, we often feel like God is among the missing. How could these horrible things happen? Why doesn’t God care? How can we believe God loves us? If there is such evil in the world, is there even a God at all? Is everything we’ve believed all a lie?
Fr. Michael White and Tom Corcoran, both from the Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland, tackle the hard questions of life in Seriously, God? Making Sense of Life Not Making Sense (Ave Maria Press). As they are quick to point out, “God’s choices and decisions don’t always make sense to us,” but that might not actually be a problem. There are reasons why God’s ways are not our ways. God is smarter than us. After all, God created the whole world. God also has a much wider vantage point than we do. He can see all of creation and all of time in one eternal now. God simply thinks differently than we do. We can, however, get an inkling of God’s understanding of things through the revelation of the Bible and in the person of Jesus Christ. God wants to have a relationship with us. He wants us, at least to some extent, to understand.
Some of the challenging questions White and Corcoran take on are why God sometimes says no to perfectly good prayers, why we face unexpected storms in life, why bad people are sometimes in charge, why God sometimes seems to be stopping us from doing good things, why we suffer, and why people die in unexpected and painful ways. To answer these questions, they offer examples from the Bible as well as what they have learned through their own lived experience. The combination of a priest and a married layman speaking is profound as they are each able to bring their own unique perspective to the questions.
As much as White and Corcoran contribute to our understanding of why there is pain and heartache in the world and how God can bring good out of it, they certainly don’t have all the answers. They do, however, have faith. They believe (as all Christians should) that all will be made well in the next world. Our stories “will end well; everything will be brought to resolution if we follow the Lord and seek always to grow in understanding how he acts in our lives and our stories.” That faith is sometimes hard to hold on to in the midst of trial. If you or someone you love is struggling with how God is acting, or failing to act, in life, Seriously, God? may help provide some understanding and strengthen a weakened faith.
Copyright 2021 Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
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About the Author
Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur has a Master’s Degree in Applied Theology and is the author of The Catholic Baby Name Book, The Power of Forgiveness, and Our Lady of La Salette: A Mother Weeps for Her Children. A mother of three, she is the editor of TodaysCatholicHomeschooling.com as well as a freelance writer and editor.