A Masterpiece on Suffering
similar to When Life Isn't Fair have been written
recently, but Freeman's work is especially noteworthy…Rather
than easy, pat answers, Freeman offers solid biblical
responses. At each chapter’s end he asks pointed questions
that help readers come to grips with their feelings and
reflect on the truth of God's word. In easy-to-understand
terms, this compact book explains a profound theological
mystery. After finishing this book readers will have the
courage to face life's seemingly unfair circumstances and to
have faith in God’s absolute wisdom and justice.”
-- Bookstore Journal
“When I became
paralyzed in a diving accident, I felt that God owed me
explanations. My questions were not unlike those of most
people who suffer. With wit and disarming style, Joel
Freeman helps us find at least some of those answers.”
-- Joni Eareckson Tada, Author and Speaker
“I was going through treatment for cancer and if one more person gave me
some syrupy sweet, overly illustrated, "overly Job," candy
books I was going to go insane. Then I stumbled on this book
and it blew me away. It packs a powerful message that helps
answer questions, but also helps you learn to deal with
-- Emma, a reader
Freeman's acceptance and care speaks to the heart of many
who search for meaning and purpose. In touch with human
suffering and pain, his personal faith is witness to God's
mercy and love. Freeman's moving message in the book When
Life Isn't Fair is one of profound hope.”
-- Barry Estadt, Ph.D., Chairman
(retired), Pastoral Counseling,
is one of the
best, commentaries to date on the heartaches, trials, and
tribulations people experience during life's journey. As I
dug deeper into this masterpiece on suffering, I saw this
book as a means of producing blessing, peace, and assurance
to every intellectual level and age group. ”
Van Impe, Author and Speaker
“I have just got done reading
your book ‘God Is Not Fair.’ I wanted to tell you just how
much I enjoyed your book. Of all the ones I’ve read, it has
given me the most insight to suffering. The examples and
illustrations are excellent and hit home! The questions at
the end of the chapters are very helpful to see how I feel.
It is one of those books I will read again and again.”
-- Frank, a reader,
“I’ve just finished reading
your book, ‘God Is Not Fair,’ and honestly believe it
is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I would have
traded my entire life for this book 25 years ago.”
-- A reflective prisoner,
Life is a series of
problems: You are in one now, you’re just coming out of one,
or you’re getting ready to go into another one.
– Rick Warren
There’s a scream, “Oh, my God!” Waves of panic engulf the
beach. The once-quiet sunbathers point wildly. A lifeguard
races toward the pounding surf. Thrashing furiously, a pair
of hands suddenly reappears out of the deep. The drowning
person is in an intense struggle between life and death.
Think with me for a moment. Do you identify with the
drowning soul, the trained lifeguard, or the powerless
spectators? You are in at least one of those categories.
Let me help you understand.
Right now, the state of your emotions may be saturated with
sorrow and you may be grasping, like a drowning person, for
answers to a multitude of “why” questions. Maybe, like the
spectators, you are feeling gross inadequacies as you try
to assist a friend who is hurting. Or possibly, like the
lifeguard, you are in the people-helping profession
(hospice). You have been through your own deep waters and
are feeling used up, needing to be recharged.
Have you encountered personal tragedy some
time ago and are still searching for
meaning in your pain?
Have you ever been hurt by a snake in the
grass, and then felt like you had to blab
it to everyone?
Are you angry with God for something you felt
He did to you or a loved one?
Have you ever had your very own personal pity
party? For a day? For a week? For a month? For a decade?
Are you in the midst of a crisis, feeling like
you’re one hair’s breadth away from
Do you struggle with deep roots of bitterness?
Do you have a problem receiving and/or giving
Have you ever felt like nobody really
understands the pain you have experienced?
Have you ever stuck out your trembling lower
lip and said, “It’s just not fair”?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, this
book is for you. God understands your tolerance level for
suffering, and He wants to make you a tough person with a
“On, no, not another negative, hell-fire-and-brimstone
book!” I hear someone groan. You’re absolutely right: this
isn’t one of those.
“But what about the title? I always thought God was fair.”
Hold on just a moment....
“Fair” is a fine word, but as you will see, the genuine
meaning has been distorted. To help clarify its meaning the
word “fair” is set off by quotation marks throughout the
Twenty-five years and twenty-one foreign translations later.
That’s where we are with the book you now hold in your
hands. This was the passion for greater understanding about
suffering that burned within. It emerged out of a very dark
time in my life where pious platitudes would not work for
me. I had to put what I was learning on paper, even if for
nothing more than personal therapeutic value. The response
has been heartwarming – from adults and teens, professionals
and non-professionals, to the religious and non-religious.
With travels to well over fifty countries around the world,
I have realized one main thing: there is a drama of pain
behind every pair of eyes. The “why” of suffering is the
most potent assassin that haunts, taunts, and seeks to
destroy the strong and the weak alike.
This book is not filled with glib answers, which
serve only to drive honest strugglers into deeper
disillusionment. In fact, I am rather suspect of those who
seem to have all the answers wrapped up in a neat, tidy
package: Ten Principles for Happy Sufferers. Instead,
I want to hand you some tools. I also want you to know that
we are in this together. I am learning and growing right
along with you.
Before you have finished reading, you will have discovered
ways to improve your course in life by making your attitude
behave. You will also understand how you have already won
the invisible, spiritual battle being waged this very moment
for the attention of your heart.
By the way, if you are looking for “fairness” in your life,
you may want to think again. I hope to persuade you that God
is not “fair.”
Ponder what you just read for a moment and then move on to
the next page...
WANT TO HURT THIS BAD AGAIN
horrors have followed the same course, getting worse and
forcing you into a kind of bottleneck till, at the very
moment when you thought you must be crushed, behold! You
were out of the narrows and all was suddenly well. The
extraction hurt more and more and then the tooth was out.
The dream became a nightmare and then you awoke. You die and
die and then you are beyond death.
— C.S. Lewis
Why are there fleas? Have you ever asked that question? No?
(Obviously you’ve never owned a cat or dog.) Well, just
think about it. What purpose do they serve? Granted, their
existence creates the jobs necessary in the conception,
testing, manufacturing, and marketing of anti-flea shampoos
and sprays. But why are they here on this planet? They are
dirty and nasty and they reproduce at an astonishing rate.
Why did God deliberately create such seemingly unnecessary
pests? Why do they exist? Is there an answer?
In the same breath we could ask:
Why is there pain? You know, gut-wrenching grief and sorrow?
Does it have any meaning? Let’s face it, life presents many
challenges to all of us.
Some people piously portray
emotional pain as a brilliant blessing in disguise that
really is our best friend. Somehow pain is supposed to be a
useful tool, teaching us valuable lessons.
That philosophy seems rather hollow and empty, however,
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