Sunday, May 02, 2010

Book Review: Where is God? by John Townsend

(this is a guest post/review by my wife)

Difficult times can be hard to define. They come in many seasons of our lives, and what may be a struggle for one is considered normal by another. One quality of difficult times that remains constant is that they are guaranteed to happen. The Bible even speaks this truth. Paul tells us to not be surprised when hard times arise. When life is not what we expected, where do we turn? How do we answer questions that arise in our minds and in our hearts? How do you respond when questions are asked of you by others whose lives have tumbled out of control? Dr. John Townsend refers to his many years in the counseling field and his knowledge of scriptures to compile a resource to turn to, not only in the difficult times but also to look at in preparation for the times that are sure to be coming. Where Is God? gives us hope in our dark times, when personal burdens have taken their toll and leave us feeling purposeless.

One aspect of Dr. Townsend's book that I really appreciated is that he clearly states a common reason for our discouragement in the hard seasons of our lives. We have an inaccurate view of God. We cannot see the purpose for our trials until we see the truth of the God who is active in the midst of them. The true God that is presented in scripture is often very different from our misconceived view of God that is often a compilation of our experiences. God's role in our lives is not to prevent trials but rather to use the trials we face for His greater purposes. As Dr. Townsend writes, "He (God) loves you and wants to help you, but He will do it His way and in His time."

There are struggles that we face that will pass. Where is God? will help to point you to the God who is the only hope we have and will give us endurance to persevere. And when the struggles we face are terminal, permanent, and unchanging Dr. Townsend reminds the reader that in Christ we find a deeper hope than simply that the problem will go away (page 67). Ultimately, Christ is the anchor in our storms.

Where is God? is not an answer book in the sense that you walk away with every reason or purpose behind your difficult time. But it does clearly point you to the One who is the answer. It is full of scriptures and examples from Dr. Townsend's experiences that help us to see the reality of our trials. When all else is shaken, He remains. When all else fails us, He remains. When all else is taken, He remains. His goodness, faithfulness, and intimate knowledge of our lives all remain constant. I know I am not alone in needing that reminder.

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