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Books to help a hurting heart, a perplexed mind from Sept. 11

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)-Spiritual resources abound to help a person think through and adjust to the aftermath of Sept. 11’s onslaught of terror.

Among them:

— Deliver Us From Evil

By Ravi K. Zacharias (W Publishing, 1998)

In this compelling volume, Zacharias examines the mystery of evil. This brilliant writer and gifted teacher traces how secularization has led to a loss of shame, pluralization has led to a loss of reason, and privatization has led to a loss of meaning.

— How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil

By D.A. Carson (Baker, 1991)

Carson discusses why there is evil in our world, how God can be good and allow evil, the relationship between human moral choice (sometimes called free will) and divine sovereignty, comforting those in suffering and providing counsel before suffering comes. This book is not for the casual reader.

— Disappointment with God

By Philip Yancey (Zondervan, 1997)

This is a “must-read” for any believer who finds himself questioning the “goodness” and “fairness” of God.

— When God Interrupts: Finding New Life Through Unwanted Change

By M. Craig Barnes (InterVarsity Press, 1996)

Barnes writes, “When we are abandoned by the things we value, when we discover that no matter how much we have gathered we do not have enough, when we realize that even in the currency we value we are very poor, we are ready to start talking to God. Not before. Faith means betting our lives on the grace of God.”

— Shattered Dreams: God’s Unexpected Pathway to Joy

By Lawrence J. Crabb (Waterbrook, 2001)

Crabb’s newest book on Naomi is a departure from his counseling books and focuses instead on the biblical text in Ruth, revealing how God takes Naomi through a time of loss and mystery, bringing her to something better in the end.

— Why Does God Allow Suffering?

By David Martin Lloyd-Jones (Crossway, 1994)

Does God care about the suffering in the world today? Why doesn’t God put a stop to the violence? Does he really answer prayer? These are just a few of the themes Lloyd-Jones discusses in this challenging book that offers insight into the mystery of God’s ways.

— Where Is God When It Hurts?

By Philip Yancey (Zondervan, 2001)

This book focuses on the role of pain in God’s plan for life and how we can respond to it. Proceeds from the sale of this book go to the Red Cross as they help victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This book is available for a special price from Pastors.com.

— The Problem of Pain

By C.S. Lewis (HarperSanFrancisco, 2001)

Lewis argues that because God loves us, he has to change us and that means he may cause us pain: “I am not arguing that pain is not painful. Pain hurts. I am only trying to show that the old Christian doctrine that being made perfect through suffering is not incredible. To prove it palatable is beyond my design.”

— A Grief Observed

By C.S. Lewis (HarperSanFrancisco, 2001)

A book written by Lewis when he lost his wife, it can help anyone understand the deep, grief process: “Your bid — for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity — will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high…. Nothing will shake a man — or at any rate a man like me — out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.”

— Mourning Song

By Joyce Landorf Heatherly (Revell, 1994)

A good book that goes through the various stages of grief. It includes an excellent section on what NOT to do or say.

— A Grace Disguised

By Gerald L. Sittzer (Zondervan, 1998)

Gerald Sittzer wrote this book in the wake of a tragic accident that claimed his mother, his wife and his young daughter. His conclusion is that, in coming to the end of ourselves, we can come to the beginning of a new life through the grace of God.

— Finding God

By Lawrence J. Crabb (Zondervan, 1995)

Crabb says we approach problems the wrong way, asking God to solve them — instead, we should be using our problems to find God.

— Seeking God’s Hidden Face: When God Seems Absent

By Cecil B. Murphey (InterVarsity Press, 2001)

This book is not so much about tragedy; rather it’s about how we respond when God just doesn’t seem to be there.

— Traveling Light: Releasing The Burdens You Were Never Intended To Bear

By Max Lucado (W Publishing, 2001)

In reviewing this book, Publisher’s Weekly wrote, “In Psalm 23, God counters the misconception that burden-bearing signals Christian maturity and admonishes followers to leave their loads at Christ’s feet, as he is the only one truly equipped to handle the weight. Lucado dissects Psalm 23 while recounting tender tales of men and women who have overcome crushing circumstances with Christ’s support.”

— Religious Freedom in the World: A Global Report on Freedom and Persecution

By Paul Marshall (Editor, Broadman & Holman, 2000)

From the Center for Religious Freedom comes this authoritative description of religious freedom and religious persecution from nearly 80 countries representative of most world cultures. Each country is profiled following a standard format and set of criteria, and each country is ranked for comparison.

— Islam: Its Prophets, Peoples, Politics and Power

By George W. Braswell Jr. (Broadman & Holman, 1996)

Structuring his book around 20 questions about Islam that he’s consistently asked, Braswell, who lived and taught in Iran for 20 years, explores the history and development of the Islamic religion from Muhammad to the 20th century. This is more academic than the following book.

— What You Need to Know About Islam and Muslims

By George W. Braswell Jr. (Broadman & Holman, 2000)

This very practical book works well for pastors and layman. Braswell was a missionary to Iran, and is now one of the foremost experts in America on Islam. This book is available through Pastors.com.

— Islam Revealed: A Christian Arab’s View of Islam

By Anis A. Shorrosh (Nelson, 1998)

A quick look at Amazon.com reveals that this book is highly recommended by Christians and absolutely loathed by Muslims. It gives a unique Christian-Arab point of view regarding Islam.

— The Coming Anarchy

By Robert D. Kaplan (Vintage Books, 2001)

This is not a Christian book, but it is prophetic in the geopolitical field and has been read and endorsed by many statesmen. Kaplan is a journalist who travels widely, making predictions related to world affairs.

— Deliver Us from Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict

By William Shawcross (Simon and Schuster, 2000)

This is not a Christian book, but foreign affairs journalist William Shawcross writes insightfully, “In a more religious time it was only God whom we asked to deliver us from evil. Now we call upon our own manmade institutions for such deliverance.” The book explores our sometimes-naive view of conflicts across the globe.

— The World’s Most Dangerous Places

By Robert Young Pelton (Harper, 2000)

U.S. News and World Report calls this “a primer on how to get in and out of potentially lethal places.”

    About the Author

  • Jon Walker