John Mark Hicks’ first wife died after 3 years; his son has a genetic illness that will bring his death at an early age. This book brings help and healing for the mind and the heart. It digs deep into the heart and mind of God in the search for answers. But it also opens up the hurt of the wounded, broken heart so that others can experience the pain.
This book is neither a personal testimony appealing only to the heart and emotions nor a philosophical theodicy appealing only to the mind and reason. The work is a hybrid containing Hicks’ personal experiences, emotional and faith struggles, and his search for understanding as a young theologian seeking to make sense out of tragedy and crisis in his own life and the lives of God’s people. This book speaks to the heart and mind of the sufferer and those ministering to the sufferer. According to the author, this book is the product of twenty years of study and research in which Hicks taught graduate students, but behind each statement of rational, theological truth are the painful life experiences of the author.
The author’s thesis is that each person can only come to an understanding of the pain and tragedies of their individual life story by looking through the lens of what God is about: what God has done, what God is doing and what God will do. Hicks had originally named the book “What on Earth is God Doing?” By refocusing on God and His story, the sufferer can see how his or her story intersects with and is impacted by God’s story. The result of this refocusing on God is peace, hope and a meaning in life that is not found in a fallen world reeling under the weight of unspeakable pain and suffering.