The Christian Broadcasting Network



Email Updates

Latest entertainment articles and reviews. Subscribe

Weekly top stories and videos. Subscribe


God Is in the Hard Stuff

255 pages
Barbour Publishing
September 2005
ISBN 1593109245

Visit the authors' Web site

About the Authors
Californians Bruce Bickel, of Fresno, and Stan Jantz, of Huntington Beach, have coauthored numerous books in addition to their "regular" jobs: Bruce is a lawyer and speaker, while Stan is a marketing consultant. Bruce and his wife, Cheryl, have two children; Stan and his wife, Karin, are also the parents of two. Bruce & Stan are passionate about helping people to meet, know, and enjoy the living God and to realize that God is involved in every detail of their lives.
Related Links

Talking to Your Children About the Hard Stuff in Life

More book excerpts and author interviews on


God is in the Hard Stuff

By Bruce Bickel & Stan Jantz – Where is God during tragedies like the tsunami of 2004 in Asia or Hurricane Katrina in the United States? Recent events have left many people asking this question. In their new book, God is in the Hard Stuff, authors Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz show readers where to turn when the going gets rough -- to the God who cares about every difficulty they face. Based in the timeless truths of scripture, drawing upon life experiences of people who've navigated the dark valleys, God Is in the Hard Stuff offers inspiration and hope. Read an excerpt below.

Chapter Two: Innocent Suffering

Of all the types of suffering
we see in the world, the most difficult to understand is the
suffering of the innocent—in particular, innocent children. When the devastating tsunami of 2004 took scores of thousands of lives, it was hard to comprehend the magnitude of such an enormous loss.
After a while, the images blurred together, leaving many of us numb and unable to show emotion.

Then, perhaps, you saw a photo of a father clutching the
lifeless body of his child. You observed the child, but your eyes fixed on the contorted face of the parent—and in an instant a knot formed in your stomach. You hurt for this family and countless others you will never know, but somehow identify with. You are not related, yet you are connected by the common bond of humanity.

You can’t help but feel a sense of helplessness when such
disasters occur. Because they originate with this planet we call home, we all feel the sting when the earth convulses. And we wonder: Can we trust this life-giving sphere that is usually so good to us? It all seems rather capricious, especially when those who are least able to handle the terrestrial blast of earthquakes, typhoons, and floods are often hit the hardest.

How do we deal with this kind of suffering? What are our
options? We can believe that nature has run amok and out of God’s control. Or we can believe that nature is all there is, with no God to care or wield any authoritative restraint. Those are the options of people who have given up on God. They aren’t very comforting, are they? If nature is the beginning and the end of all things, and if we are merely pawns in a mindless game of chance and natural selection (it’s survival of the fittest, you know), there is no need to wonder why we suffer—because there is no explanation.

People who still hold to a belief in some kind of God—
and most of the world operates this way—look beyond nature for answers. Even in this realm of belief, there are multiple views. One is that God is using nature to inflict punishment on His wayward created beings. He did it once—remember the Great Flood?—and He can do it again. Ah, but there’s the rainbow, God’s promise to humankind that He will never inflict such worldwide harm again:

“I will never again curse the earth, destroying all living
things, even though people’s thoughts and actions are bent
toward evil from childhood. As long as the earth remains,
there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter
and summer, day and night.”
GENESIS 8:21–22

We must look elsewhere for some kind of explanation, though
none can be found to satisfy everyone. Perhaps a partial answer is found in the New Testament. In his letter to the first-century Roman church, the apostle Paul wrote:

All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s
children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For
we know that all creation has been groaning as in the
pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
ROMANS 8:21–22

Even creation is under the weight of sin and suffering, brought
into this world by rebellious acts of the people God made. It isn’t that God has lost control; He is merely allowing His creation to operate in the physical world He made for us, functioning superbly and incredibly 99.9 percent of the time. Occasionally, though, it groans from the contractions that will someday result in a new heaven and a new earth.

Meanwhile, we must also groan—with compassion—for those
affected by Earth’s sometimes unexplainable behavior. If we are to find meaning in any of this, we should find it in the help we can give to those who suffer.

...In The Hard Stuff

• People without God are people without hope.
• This world is an imperfect place, but it is the
best of all possible worlds.
• God has taken extraordinary measures to
provide a comfortable and beneficial place for
us to live.
• God does not cause suffering, but He allows
it to happen for reasons we don’t always
• Never allow your own comfort to keep you
from giving comfort to others.

Read an article by the authors: Talking to Your Children About the Hard Stuff in Life.

Excerpted from God is in the Hard Stuff, by Bruce Bickel & Stan Jantz, Copyright 2005. Published by Barbour Publishing. Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.


  • Translate
  • Print Page

Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?

A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.

Do You Know Jesus
Grow In Your Faith

Need Prayer?

Call 1-800-700-7000
Email your prayer request

Email iconSign up for E-mail Updates Full List