Blindsided by God by Peter Chin (Book Review)

When I picked up Peter Chin’s book, Blindsided by God, I wasn’t overly enthusiastic.  After all, what more could be said on the subject of a loving God who allows suffering?  Skeptics, however, continue to raise the question.  So, perhaps, I thought, Pastor Chin would offer something new with which we counsel those who hurt.

The book chronicles the battle Carol, Chin’s wife, fought with cancer.  In truth, the cancer was but the background; the real battle was for Pastor Chin’s faith.  The book starts by introducing us to the young couple, how they met, how he courted her, how they came to be married.  The stories are amusing, but hardly inspirational.  Even as they received news of the cancer diagnosis, I remember thinking, nothing new here.  How many people have fought the battle with cancer and retained their faith?

Thankfully, I kept reading.  Chin takes the reader for a wild ride with emotional ups and downs.  We also get a glimpse of the life of a church planter.  That this battle came about as the family moved into a new home in order to plant a church is not just an aside.  As he struggled with his myriad of emotions as the prognosis sunk in, the feeling of betrayal by God that surprised Chin.  “I felt betrayed by God because he had broken his promises. … I had absorbed it from the pervasive culture of the American dream, which teaches us that everyone gets what they deserve.”  How, after all, could a church planter, pastor, and family who’d given up so much for God’s Kingdom been cursed by cancer?

Chin tackles these and other hard questions and lessons with deep, spiritual depth while, at the same time, keeping it accessible and revealing of his heart.  One can imagine Chin sharing those harrowing years over a cup of coffee.  At times, he’d cry as he relived the pain and doubt; other times he’d laugh as he recounted some of his foolish, boorish responses.  

I recommend, without hesitation, this book to everyone, believers and skeptics alike.  My wife and my 12-year old son have both been blessed by it.  We’re reminded that, “He does not promise that we will not suffer, but that when we do suffer, he will be there with us in the midst of it all.  It is a promise, not of painlessness, but of his presence.”  But even more than helping us to cope (which is the aim of many books on suffering), Chin demonstrates that suffering helps us to more fully appreciate God’s grace and the demonstration of His love.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. 

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