When Answers Aren't Enough

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Overview

On April 16, 2007, the campus of Virginia Tech experienced a collective nightmare when thirty-three students were killed in the worst massacre in modern U.S. history. Following that horrendous event, Virginia Tech campus pastor Matt Rogers found himself asking and being asked, 'Where is God in all of this?' The cliche-ridden, pat answers rang hollow.
In this book, Matt approaches the pain of the world with personal perspective---dealing with his hurting community as well as ...
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When Answers Aren't Enough: Experiencing God as Good When Life Isn't

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Overview

On April 16, 2007, the campus of Virginia Tech experienced a collective nightmare when thirty-three students were killed in the worst massacre in modern U.S. history. Following that horrendous event, Virginia Tech campus pastor Matt Rogers found himself asking and being asked, 'Where is God in all of this?' The cliche-ridden, pat answers rang hollow.
In this book, Matt approaches the pain of the world with personal perspective---dealing with his hurting community as well as standing over the hospital bed of his own father---and goes beyond answers, beyond theodicy, beyond the mere intellectual. When Answers Aren't Enough drives deeper, to the heart of our longing, in search of a God we can experience as good when life isn't.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Rogers, a pastor at New Life Christian Fellowship at Virginia Tech, reflects on the tragedy that shook the campus (and the nation) in April 2007 when Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 fellow students and professors. However, this isn't primarily a message of pastoral comfort, or even a journalistic account about how students of faith have walked through their grief. (Rogers is more than 50 pages into the book before he mentions that one of the students who died attended his church.) Instead, it centers around Rogers's own heartache and struggle to understand how God can give so many good gifts and yet allow such horror. While there are poetic moments, and readers will be comforted by his thoughts on the way the world was meant to be and the world that is to come, there's little new, and all the brooding introspection can become wearying. With a release timed around the anniversary of the shootings, there promises to be a lot of interest and plenty of media opportunities. Unfortunately, the book could have been much better if Rogers had gotten out of his own pain and focused on the students he works with. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310286813
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Matt Rogers is copastor of New Life Christian Fellowship at Virginia Tech. Eight hundred students call it home.
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Read an Excerpt


When Answers Aren't Enough
Experiencing God as Good When Life Isn't

By Matt Rogers Zondervan
Copyright © 2008
Matt Rogers
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-28681-3


Chapter One Lately I've been walking in the evenings. I tend to do that when stuck on a question. Maybe I'm trying to walk it off. On days when I have time, I drive out to Pandapas Pond in Jefferson National Forest to be in nature. Once there, I set off through the woods or slowly stroll along the water's edge, deep in thought or prayer.

Most days, because of time, I have to settle for the streets around my home. I can quickly climb to the top of Lee Street, turn around, and look out over Blacksburg, the Blue Ridge backlit by the setting sun. From there, I can see much of Virginia Tech. The stately bell tower of Burruss Hall rises proudly above the rest.

On nights like tonight, when I get a late start and the sun is already down, I head for campus. At its center, separating the academic and residential sides of the school, sits the Drill Field, a wide-open grassy space named for the exercises that the Corps of Cadets practices to perfection there. After dark, old iron lampposts, painted black, blanket the ground in overlapping circles of light.

It was here on the Drill Field, the day after the shootings, that students placed thirty-two slabs of gray limestone rock - Hokie stones, as they're called - in a semicircle in front of Burruss Hall, to commemorate the lives of loved ones lost. Thousands of mourners descended on the place, bearing with them a flood of condolences, a mix of bouquets, balloons, and poster-board sympathies. They came sniffling, clinging to tissues and to one another, and lifting their sunglasses to wipe tears from their tired, red eyes. The world came as well, vicariously through television, watching us, kneeling with us in grief.

I also came, revisiting the stones day after day, and sometimes at night, drawn to them by a need to connect with the dead whom I never knew. Always there was something new here, some trinket that had been added. At times the items seemed odd: a baseball for every victim, an American flag by every stone, though some of the dead were international students.

People took their time passing by this spot. There was no need to rush; there were no classes to attend. It would be days, dark and long, before there would be any distractions from the pain. For a time, there was no world beyond this place.

By day, soft chatter could be heard around the memorial. After sunset, no one spoke a word. During daylight, masses huddled near the stones, peering over shoulders to read the notes left there. At night, however, mourners passed by in a single-file line, waiting their turn, patient with the people in front who wished to pause at every name.

The masses have since receded. The Drill Field now is vacant (except for these stones) and silent. The semester has ended, most of the students are gone, and only the sounds of insects disturb the stillness of the summer evening air. If I close my eyes and take in the quiet, I can almost imagine nothing happened here.

Almost. Except for the stone reminders that lie at my feet. On one is written a simple, anguished note.

Jeremy, We love you. Mom and Dad

These stones are more than rocks. Each is all that remains of a son, a daughter, a husband who will never come home again. I picture my mom and dad, heartbroken, kneeling by a stone for me, had I been among the dead. Moreover, I imagine myself by a stone for my dad, had he not survived his fall.

This is a summer of mourning. I am grieving the world as it is. And I am asking, "If I embrace the world as it is, in all its sadness - if I refuse to bury my head in the sand, pretending all is well, but rather think and speak of the world as it actually is - can I, then, still know God as good? Can my experience of him be more consistent than my circumstances, which alternate between good and bad?"

Is this too much to expect?

Before I can know, I must face the world at its worst.

(Continues...)




Excerpted from When Answers Aren't Enough by Matt Rogers Copyright © 2008 by Matt Rogers. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

4 Star

(7)

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(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2008

    Heartfelt and Helpful Dialogue

    When Answers Aren't Enough is a work of deep expression and emotions put onto paper for all to see straight from the heart of Matt Rogers. Through this book, Matt was able to retell what it was like to be part of the Virgina Tech family during their extreme loss, but it goes well beyond that as well. He delves into many different examples of tragedy where people have screamed, 'There is no God! He would not let this happen, if there was', and takes the reader past dwelling on the questions. Truly answers are not enough for comprehending heart break, but usually it is not unless we are past the questions that we can truly see that fact in front of us. This book is a painful and pleasant journey through pain and the after thought. It is a well written conversation between Matt and the reader, and it is one that I suggest everyone should take part in experiencing. God is good, and is always good, while life wavers on what it seems to want to be. But through the bad in life we can then see the good in God. I'd suggest this book as a read for anyone and everyone. This is a dictation of what really matters, and that's Christ, our Lord God and his will and design.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2008

    One Man's Struggle

    Matt Rogers tries to unlock that nagging question that haunts those who have experienced tragedy in their lives--'Why would God allow this?' However, this well written narrative feels more like one man's struggle to try to come to terms with a good God in a bad situation and finding Him 'which is encouraging' but doesn't necessarily meet his intended goal of being an example to help others come to the same conclusion. I often felt more depressed and empathetic for him, rather than translating it to helping others or myself feel better. 'Kind of like having to read Lametations in the Bible only on good days so I don't have a black cloud over my head.' It is possible, however, that this book will mean more to those who also went through a horrendous experience like the VT killings and may have similar unanswered questions. Still worth a read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2008

    A Way Through the Pain

    Reading ¿When Answers Aren¿t Enough¿ is like looking over the shoulder of Matt Rogers as he writes in his spiritual journal every day after a life-altering event. This effect is both insightful and depressing. Only those who have been through the kind of trauma he describes, the mass killing of students and faculty at Virginia Tech, can fully appreciate the depth of pain and dis-ease that enter daily life. It seems as if every part of every day for months afterward was a reminder of something or someone from that moment of his life frozen in time. I would recommend this book for someone going through a significant sudden loss. The why questions and the search for solutions are a part of many people¿s lives. Matt may help others cover some familiar ground and help those in pain realize, ¿I¿m not alone. Someone else has struggled with these same issues and questions.¿ I tried to read it as a minister who sometimes comes alongside those in pain and attempts to help them sense God¿s nearness even in the midst of this kind of devastating loss. From that perspective I found it less satisfying. It seems that the people most affected by the attack, a student who was wounded and a family who lost a child, were more helpful to Matt than Matt was to others. They seemed to have a season of grief, but then be able to move on to another chapter that included some celebration. A part of me wanted to urge Matt to stop obsessing on himself and his loss of innocence and get back on the field where people are wounded every day in far less dramatic, yet just as significant, ways. A friend of mine used to be a Campus Minister at Kent State. He said that even though the shootings during the Viet Nam War had happened decades before, there was still a sense of ¿darkness¿ around campus and especially as the yearly anniversary came up. Matt may have to be prepared to write a sequel to this book in a few years to explain how life does or does not move on for him.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2008

    Interesting book on a timely topic

    Matt Rogers shares his honest stream of consciousness, even the parts that most people would hide. Doubt, anger, shame...he covers everything surrounding the tragedy at Virginia Tech and this is what I enjoyed most about the book. Some chapters felt disjointed and I found that distracting. Roger's transparency allows the reader to love God and be angry too to grieve and live and hope all at the same time. All in all it was an interesting and very personal account of the variety of emotions surrounding grief and our view of God as good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2008

    A reviewer

    In his book, 'When Answers Aren't Enough,' Matt Rogers addresses the question, 'If God is good, why is there so much suffering in this world?' Working as a pastor in a church in Blacksburg, Virginia, at the time of the massacre of 33 people at Virginia Tech, he works through this central question not only in light of the happenings at Virginia Tech, but also through his personal experiences and the experiences of others. The book is divided into three parts. In the first section of the book - Embracing the World That Is - Rogers rawly recounts the day of the shootings at Virginia Tech and the grief surrounding it, as well as worries about his father's health, the recent death of a close friend, and the death of one family's six children. The second section of the book - Embracing the World That Was - tells of Rogers' experiences on the North Carolina Coast, in Estes Park, Colorado, and in Japan. Through his travels, he talks of what God intended for the world in the Bible and how he's becoming more aware of God's goodness surrounding him every day - in the gifts 'big and small' that people give, in nature, and in gestures. He spends much of his time searching for those reminders that 'God is good even when life isn't' '106'. In the third part - Embracing the World That Is To Be - Rogers talks about Heaven, living 'between two worlds' 'having loved ones in Heaven while the rest of us remain on earth', the coming of Christ 'and how exciting that should be', and how suffering is a very individual emotion that cannot be 'summed up.' Matt Rogers does not try to force any specific theology on the reader in this book he does not write densely or in a way that makes his point difficult to understand. He is honest. His language is raw. His questions are real and difficult and uncomfortable, but by asking these questions, he's able to take the reader on a journey through his experiences and offer some insight as his thoughts are challenged and changed throughout the book. The reader truly goes on a journey with Rogers,from utter doubt and anger at how far away a 'good God' seems in the midst of suffering, to interrogating others about their faith experiences during times of tragedy, to telling others of his experiences of God's goodness in suffering. As a young adult who recently experienced the death of someone very near to me, I was enthralled by Rogers' book. It was a quick read and one that could be easily understood in one or two sittings. Rogers honest questions and thoughts on the topic of suffering and experiencing God as good were very insightful and prompted me to ask more questions about my experiences with suffering. His book did not really change or deeply challenge my thoughts on God's goodness in tragedy, but it did put into words the emotions I have felt and the thoughts I've had and solidified my life experiences, as well as helped me to reflect on how I can keep my faith strong when it is challenged by such earthly challenges as death. I would recommend this book to anyone who has experienced tragedy either in their own lives or is supporting someone who has had their faith challenged by suffering, or just to anyone looking for a good read about someone's journey from demanding answers to overarching questions to simply having faith in a good God.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2008

    A look at life's tough questions

    The drumbeat of the funeral procession wakens Matt Rogers from sleep, reminding him once more of the horror that had unfolded on the Virginia Tech campus just days earlier and sending him on a journey to find answers to the age-old question, 'Why?' Thankfully, Rogers, the copastor of New Life Christian Fellowship at Virginia Tech, has invited us along on the journey. It's a journey of three parts. The first is raw and emotional, highlighted by Rogers' interviews with a Tech survivor and with a couple who had lost six children in an explosion. The first part of the journey sets the stage, showing the reader, in Rogers' terms, 'the world that is.' The second leg of the journey takes a walk through 'the world that was.' Recalling encounters with creation and with key mentors in the months that followed the tragedy, Rogers reminds us that the world in which we live is not the world God created. It is a world marked by the Fall, but it is not the end of the story nor is it the end of the journey. The final leg of Rogers' journey gives us encouragement as we go through our own struggles and a glimpse of the world to come ¿ a world of hope and resurrection. Are there answers? Yes. We've all heard them and understand them on an intellectual level. Rogers helps us to bridge the divide between these intellectual answers and the heart-wrenching, emotional questions that we can't still ask. His flowing, poetic style is compelling, often reminiscent of the Bible's wisdom literature in its freedom to question, doubt and even lament. It takes us beyond the simplistic superficial phrases that often serve as answers to life's toughest questions to a deeper understanding of a faith that sees the light emerging in the world's darkness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2008

    Good read for those asking questions

    ¿We remember the past, enjoy the present and prepare for the future.¿ These words reflect the insight campus minister Matt Rogers received as he grieved the massacre at Virginia Tech and other personal tragedies he had experienced. The writing is honest and helps the reader admit we don¿t always have ¿pat¿ answers to everything that happens in our world. He very eloquently shows we can ask questions of God and those around us. He also shows we can have joy in the midst of unanswerable situations. It¿s a good read for everyone who has or will experience hurts in this life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2008

    O death, where is your sting?

    It¿s hard to believe a book that revolves around death is best described as uplifting and joyful. Triggered by the premature death of his brother and close friend, the brush with death of his father, and the massacre at Virginia Tech where he pastors, Matt Rogers sets out to take the sting out death. When Answers Aren¿t Enough relates his journey en route to ¿experiencing God as good when life isn¿t.¿ The two words that surface repeatedly as he zooms in on life from death¿s vantage point are ¿taste¿ and ¿experience.¿ He admits to knowing the right answers by heart. But the answers can only take you so far. They don¿t quite reach the depth of an aching heart or fill the void that grief relentlessly punches out. But to taste and experience the goodness of God, even in the darkest, scariest places, disperses a heavenly light and peace that surpasses understanding. With raw honesty and tender compassion we are swept away in the tide of compelling evidence that God is good. Even when life isn¿t. His benevolence bursts in delicious splendor as we sit at the feet of Mother Nature. His love takes on flesh in the hearts that rally to comfort and nourish when hardship strikes. His uncanny providence in the midst of grief and tragedy stands as proof that we serve a good God who cares. But it still hurts, and the pain is real. In When Answers Aren¿t Enough, we are encouraged not to run away from bitter circumstances but reverently remember yesterday, embrace today, and prepare for the day when Christ sets things right. There lies our joy and our peace, secure in a lifetime of resting in the presence of God and tasting His goodness one day at a time. Matt Rogers reminds us that darkness and evil have limits. And they don¿t stand a chance against hearts cradled in the assurance that one day good will triumph completely. In the meantime, we are urged to feed each other spoonfuls of the world that is to come with arms extended in indiscriminate acts of love. He invites us to laugh and play and celebrate our days on earth because death doesn¿t have the last say. It is silenced in the glorious life without end. Read and see. Taste and see. God is good even when life is not.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2008

    Matt's Answers are Pretty Good

    Matt Rogers is a sensitive and gifted writer who is seemingly mature well beyond his (30) years. Perhaps experiences like this - as copastor of his church at Virginia Tech - are the cause for his advanced maturity as an author. The book is a pleasant read, flows well, and is scripturally well balanced upon central and accepted Christian Orthodoxy. The relevant anecdotal stories and nimble jumps in time ¿ to and fro, make the book more exciting to go through. The book is able to let the reader focus, if not meditate, on some of the key issues that believers face today: how to deal with tragedy and turn evil into good. How to answer some tough questions when we are going through the tragedies of life, and how precious is our time here on Earth. I enjoyed Matt¿s verse references - since Matt does such a good job integrating them into the text ¿ and would like to see more of the same.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2008

    Review of Zondervan¿s When Answers Aren¿t Enough by Matt Rogers

    Wow, Matt Roger¿s When Answers Aren¿t Enough is a God-send book! It was a book that was hard to put down. I could not wait to finish continue reading it! Although with finals and so forth, I thank God for the grand opportunity of obtaining this book through Zondervan. I read from page to page with expectation for Him to move and teach me something new. Being that I have encountered death directly 'example: paternal grandmother and cousin' and indirectly 'example: college friends and colleague¿s sister', I would say that I understood what it means to grief, never forget, and maintain that God is good through it all. If fact, it does not have to be death, people could question God why one has to go through sexual abuse, abortion, drugs, et cetera. However, it is not His fault for we are given choices. Unfortunately, we are in the cocoon of this world but must pray to remain set apart as we hide in Him. I comment Matt for painting such a reader friendly picture of life as we know and experience it. Sometimes we know why things happen most often we do not, just as in the case of the Bryants¿ as shared by Matt. In fact, I do thank God for the mystery of His ways because if we had known all, we would have no need of Him. Praise God for the beauty of the lilies and the present of each moment because we ought to breath each breathe as if it was our last ad infinitum souled out to Him in service and expecting Him to work in and through us. Just as Rebekah Bryant wrote in her spiritual journal 'page 48', that is my prayer also: ¿Lord, your ways are perfect, and you have a plan for me that is just what I need and exactly what you want me to do for you. You are the one who controls me and what happens to me. You are almighty and never say, ¿Oops!¿ Use me today for your will.¿ Indeed as always, His word¿the Bible comes first, but this is a must read!!! But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. ¿Hebrews 11:6

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2008

    A Must Read

    Matt Rogers, copastor of New Life Christian Fellowship at Virginia Tech, takes us through his own personal reflections and experiences that started the day of April 16th, 2007. The Virgina Tech tragedy IS still remembered and WILL never be forgotten. Thirty-two innocent people lost their lives that day before the shooter turned the gun on himself and took his own life. When mass losses of life like this happen, as with Sept 11th, 2001 and in other tragic events throughout the world, we all begin to ask the same questions. Where was God when this happened? How could a God that is Good let these things happen? Why didn't He prevent it? Can there be a God that is Good when there is so much evil in our world? The answers to these questions seldom satisfy. Take the journey with Matt Rogers in search of a God that is Good, regardless of when life isn't. This is a must read book for every Christian.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2008

    A Disturbing Comfort

    Matt, pastor, of local church during the Virginia Tech April 16th shootings shares his own personal sojourn through the nights of what seemed like God¿s absence, or maybe God¿s smite? He finds answers are not going to heal, it is a living God who is the answer. Matt¿s compassionate manner with words follows Soreen Kierkegaard's recipe: 'A poet is an unhappy being whose heart is torn by secret suffering, but whose lips are so strangely formed that when the sighs and the cries escape them, they sound like beautiful music¿' Matt plays the part: poet/pilgrim/storyteller and maybe, hopefully saint. In this book it seems that 2007 was a fertile year of growth for Matt's pilgrimage towards faith in a good God. His graceful attempt to portray the ultimate reality that the planet we live on is both a paradoxical place of beauty and terror. I got the feeling that Matt is beginning to believe that sometimes the Kingdom of God grows best in fertilized, horse manure! like-soil. Matt describes examples of the people he meets along the Way. Retold they contain honesty, tragedy, and a peace filled rawness. Matt questions reasons for his very existence, Gods, and others like I have always done. And throughout his journey he wonders WHY GOD?!? with out attempting to give all the answers. He tries to find ¿echoes of Eden¿ in this cruel world. In the end he obviously finds comfort in a good God, not good answers. ¿Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.¿ said Jesus, and Matt stumbled upon many scarred folks who found a wildly good God amongst unsafe times. Before forewarned this is not just a list of 'pick a number, any number of' steps towards the good life. It attempts to follow Jesus, the Suffering Servant, towards some kind of Paradise. This book is a rumor of another world that looms very, very near. It is one tale told, a mere foretaste of heavenly measures. Read at your own risk. Did not Jesus say, ¿The Kingdom of God is near?¿

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2008

    Good Book

    This is a great read for anyone dealing with a loss, especially an unexpected one. The author some great insights from his experiences dealing with the aftermath of the VT shootings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2008

    Trying to Understand Tragedy

    Matt Rogers lived through the horror of the April massacre at Virginia Tech. As a Pastor and Hokie he experienced the horror and felt the grief and inner struggle of wonder how God could let this happen. In this book he give a wonderful and heartfelt look at life and our faith when things go wrong and there is tragedy in our lives. This is a great book for anybody who ministers to those who are suffering or those who are suffering and trying to achieve some sort of reason in a world that appears to be falling apart. It is an honest and heartfelt book written by one who has obviously struggled himself to make sense of horror and grief

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2008

    God is good in a midst of bad.

    One of the best reads I've had. It is full of inspirational accounts of major tragedy in normal people¿s lives and how when I myself would question what well is God when this is happening? Gave unbelievable faith testimonies of how God is good when bad is there. I would highly recommend this to anyone that needs to rediscover how to have faith when difficult times come.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2008

    What an inspiring help to healing

    I went into this reading with an incredible desire to have an explanation to the hurt we all experience. I found comfort and sound Biblical advice. Matt Rogers is a real person, with his genuine love for a hurting world oozing out of the pages. This book is peppered with sources to reach for when facing grief. I appreciated his look at the survivors of tragedy and their families and showing how they dealt with their circumstances. I felt his own personal hurt from the Virginia Tech horror. I identified with his concern when his Dad fell off the roof. I was deeply moved by his explanation of the finality of death and our need to look beyond to the promise. He is right in saying that tragedy goes from intellectual to emotional, and from theoretical to personal. Would I recommend this book? With a huge Amen. I am going to have several copies on hand. I think this is one of the most sensitive and helpful books I have come across in dealing with grief and tragedy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2008

    This book is a blessing.

    When Answers Aren¿t Enough is an honest look at how anyone can experience the goodness of God despite the pain and grief that is present in this world. Having experienced pain and grief in his own life and on the campus that he ministers to, Matt Rogers offers the reader openness about his struggles of experiencing the goodness of God when such pain and suffering has surrounded him and the community he calls home. His authenticity grabbed me from the beginning and I found it hard to put the book down. Rogers¿ writing combines descriptions of the harsh reality of this world with the poetic beauty of how this world was designed to be and how it one day will be again. Deeply touching and inspiring stories of his and others' experiences and perseverance through pain and loss exemplify how it is possible to find peace amidst the sorrows. I felt as though Rogers was humbly offering me a way to find healing. When Answers Aren¿t Enough is a blessing and I encourage everyone to read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2008

    Encouragement To Ones Questioning God's Allowing Evil

    When Answers Aren't Enough isn't a theodicy, a defence of God's goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil. I read many such books in the years following my wife's death in 1971 of complications following open heart surgery. They may have satisfied my mind's questions, but they didn't ease the personal struggle that I had with why the good and all-powerful God that we served had let a child of His die so young and allowed our four-year-old daughter and I to be left without a mother and wife. As its subtitle ''Experiencing God as Good When Life Isn't'' indicates, When Answers Aren't Enough was written for ones experiencing a similar struggle. It contains Matt Rogers' 'meditations' on the mass-shooting at Virginia Tech and on his father's fall in the spring of 2007. He divides it into three parts. Part 1, Embracing the World That Is, describes and reflects on what happened at Virginia Tech and to his father and other tragedies. Part 2, Remembering the World That Was, portrays the greatness of creation. Part 3, Imagining the World That Will Be, focuses on the new heaven and new earth looked forward to by Christians. Thus Rogers suggests that thinking about what God intended for us and what He plans for us will help us experience God as good when life isn't. Although admitting that readers may be comforted by such thoughts, the Publishers Weekly review claims that When Answers Aren't Enough would have been better if Rogers had focused less on his own pain and more on the Virginia Tech students he pastors. Although I understand the criticism, I disagree with it. I think that at the time of my struggle with my wife's death a book describing another's struggle, such as Matt Rogers' in When Answers Aren't Enough, would have been more helpful to me than one aimed specifically at my particular situation. It's encouraging to know that other Christians can tell God, 'I'm not okay with this, God,' and yet continue to view Him as good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    Powerfully Honest

    ¿When Answer¿s Aren¿t Enough¿ is a powerfully honest journey into those questions we all ask, but often don¿t verbalize. And Matt Rogers takes us even deeper than that ¿ digging into and embracing those difficult thoughts and emotions we can¿t always verbalize. He takes on questions of why some people die early or tragically, when others do not questions that follow massive natural disasters and questions about the ¿right way¿ to respond to suffering and loss. While the tragedy at Virginia Tech provides the framework of this journey, this book takes the reader up front, close and personal, as it considers other real experiences of suffering and loss, including our own inevitable death. Only from the perspective of just how powerfully hard things in life can be, do we begin to comprehend just how powerfully good and beautiful God is, in the midst of this hurting world. And it is from here that we can begin to imagine just how good things will be one day when Christ returns and sets everything aright.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2008

    Matt Rogers is a Voice to Pay Attention To

    Matt Rogers searches for God¿s presence in the beautiful South Carolina woods, along the Atlantic Ocean, and walking among the Colorado Rockies (which provide some of his best written scenes). He looks for God¿s goodness standing beside gravesites, among the poor and needy, and in the church community. He works through the process of grief and calls us to imagine what the world will be in the future. Continually reminding us of Christ¿s long-awaited renewal of the world. Written in a meditative style that echoes Philip Yancey, Brennan Manning, and Henri Nouwen, Rogers is a voice that will offer comfort and hope.

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