Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts

Resources for Thinking About Suffering and Evil

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In light of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, I thought it might be helpful to put up some resources for people who are looking for answers to the tough questions having to do with suffering, evil, God, and faith. Though there are limits to our understanding, and thus to the satisfaction will find in this conversation, nevertheless I believe there are some truths we can know that will help us find guidance and even solace.
In my last post I mentioned several recent contributions to Newsweek’s “On Faith” website, in response to the question: “How does your faith tradition explain (and respond to) senseless tragedies such as the Virginia Tech shootings?” Once again, they are:


“God With Us, Grieving,” by N. T. Wright
“God of Hope and Healing” by Chuck Colson
“Facing the Reality of Evil” by Albert Mohler, Jr.
“God Cares. God Loves. We Choose” by Bishop Desmond Tutu


Some of the best books on the subjects of suffering and evil are:

N.T. Wright, Evil and the Justice of God
Jerry Sittser, A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain


Over the years I’ve done quite a bit of speaking and writing on the subjects of suffering and evil. You can find some of this at the following links:

“Finding God When Life is Hard”
“The Hardest Thing About God”
“The Strangest Thing About God”
“Why is Life Hard?”
“The Exemplary Hard Life”
Blog Series
All Things New
In the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina


My book, No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer, is not about the problem of suffering. But it does encourage us to be honest with God, even in our anger and doubt. If we take our true feelings and thoughts before the Lord, He will meet us, teach us, and grant us the peace of His presence.

  • Robert Wade

    Dear Mark,
    I am also a Presbyterian pastor and am seeking to find ways to bring God’s grace, love and mercy to people who are wondering “what the heck is going on” and feeling overwhelmed with grief. I appreciate your writing and the resource suggestions you’ve given.
    I would add another book that I have found tremendously helpful. It’s Philip Yancey’s book “Where is God When It Hurts” published by Zondervan.
    Thank you for your insightful and compassionate writing!
    God’s grace and wisdom to you,

  • Responding to the Virginia Tech Tragedy at PastorBlog

  • Mark D. Roberts

    Bob: Yes, Yancey’s book is a fine one. Thanks.

  • Virginia Tech, God, Suffering, and Evil at Ray Fowler .org

  • Virginia Tech, God, Suffering, and Faith at Ray Fowler .org

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