BOOK REVIEW: WHEN GOD DOESN’T MAKE SENSE: Holding on to your faith during the hardest times: DR. JAMES DOBSON: 1993: 250 PAGES
It moves on to explain what the author terms the ‘the Betrayal Barrier’ – the point where Christians get to where they feel betrayed by God about the situation they have prayed, fasted, and called on men of God or a group to pray with them. It exposes the feelings which even Christian leaders and matured Christians face when God has not spoken to them about the matter and they have to watch things spiral out of control as they get or even give the sad news.
He also relates the concept of ‘’Adversity principle’’ to the principle of faith where he explains that strength and faith is derived in difficult situations. Using the story of Stephen Hawkings, someone who didn’t have much use for his life until he was diagnosed with ALS syndrome and had only 2 years to live but became happier and more productive after the diagnosis, he elucidated that good can indeed come out of really difficult situations. He urged readers to see adversity as a chance to toughen their faith and stay in great fighting condition.
Some questions that arise include;
But where is God? Is he watching? Is he really going to let this happen to me? Is he even concerned? Why have the heavens grown dark and silent? Why has he abandoned me? He knows I have no one else to turn to, but why? Have I fallen short of His glory? What must I do to regain his favor?
The author then attempts to help readers gain a new perspective on their experiences that can help them live through the hard times without losing their faith. He provided some reminders which he further buttressed. They include;
- God is present and involved in our lives even when he seems deaf or on an extended leave of absence. Trust that he has the big picture which you can’t see right now. In retrospect you may get it.
With God, even when nothing is happening – something is happening. – Rev. Reubin Welch.
- God’s timing is perfect even when He appears catastrophically late. Just like when Lazarus died. Jesus showed up three days later and still rose him from death. God’s economy of time and energy is very different from ours; what is urgent to us may not be to Him. He acts according to his own schedule.
- For reasons that are impossible to explain, we human beings are incredibly precious to God. He loves us more than we will ever truly understand.
The author tells the story of his three year old son who had a terrible ear infection which had adhered itself to the ear drum and could affect his hearing if not treated immediately. The treatment required a procedure of pulling the scab with a ‘wicked’ little instrument which the pediatrician had warned would hurt.
His son Ryan could already sense it and refused to be held down by his mom who was still in shock of the news, yet still had to hold down her crying child who was pleading, and fighting away. She couldn’t do it.
Dr James was called in to help hold down his son. He called this one of his toughest moments in his career as a parent – Parents can totally relate with this. Seeing his son look at him whilst fighting and screaming broke him. He truly felt in more pain than his little boy… but for the thought of his son going deaf.
What hurt me was the look on his face. Though he was screaming and couldn’t speak, he was talking to me with those big blue eyes. He was saying, Daddy! Why are you doing this to me? I thought you loved me. I never thought you would do anything like this! How could you …? Please, Please! Stop hurting me!”
It was impossible to explain to Ryan that his suffering was for his own good especially not at the point in time, that I was trying to help him, that it was love that required me to hold him on the table. How could I have told him of my compassion in that moment? I would gladly have taken his place on that table if possible. But in his immature mind, I was just a traitor who abandoned him.
That’s how God feels sometimes when we are hurting…
TO BE CONTINUED IN NEXT POST…