Thursday, January 14, 2010

{Review} Book: Where is God? by John Townsend

I just finished reading John Townsends "Where is God?"
This is my first ever, official review, for Thomas Nelson. I am so excited to be reviewing for them!! I was over-the-top the day I got my complimentary copy of "Where is God?" in the mail... there is just something special about a free book!!

Book Description (from Amazon) 

Hard times make us look for God.
Everyone has problems. But if we could solve all our difficulties ourselves, would we ever search for God? Psychologist John Townsend says "It is actually the very unfixability of our problems and our powerlessness to bring right results that keep us asking, 'Where is God?'"
With a compelling narrative, Townsend offers new insights into the pursuit for God's help and presence. Designed to give readers hope and meaning, he divides the discussion into three parts:
  • Why does a loving God allow us to experience difficulties?
  • How is God active in the middle of our hard times?
  • How can I find God?
With powerful stories and practical applications, Where Is God? assures readers that even when it feels as though God is absent it is his nature to be in relationship, to connect with, love, and guide us. And when we seek him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, he shows up in ways that transform us forever.

My Review
When I started reading Townsends "Where is God?" my first thoughts we 'This will be a really good book for me to read for 'so-and-so'." But the truth is, as I got into the book, I realized how much I needed the book as well.

The book is centered around several solid Biblical truths including;
~ our pain and suffering is real and it matters
~ God is present and active in the midst of our suffering
~ We are not expected to act like suffering & tragedy doesn't hurt us or affect us - pain is real
~ God is loving and good - ALL the time

I appreciate the fact that throughout his book, Townsend mentions in at least a couple places that some of these truths are not appropriate or comforting to speak to someone in the middle of tragic suffering or loss. I like how he says it in chapter 9 when he is talking about the process of transformation, "There is a sequence to this: Empathy first. Perspective second."

Townsend does an excellent job of explaining several aspects of the question/search "Where is God?" including what people even mean when they as that question, why it's important to ask as well as answering the question with empathy and grace.

This book, though filled with theology and doctrine, is not a theological study of theodicy as much as it is a tool and guide for people who are experiencing (or have experienced) real pain and hurts in their past. One should keep in mind that Townsend is in fact a psychologist by trade, not a theologian or scholar. That's the perspective that this comes from. The book offers a graceful blending of some hard to accept theology with loving empathy - keeping in mind that many who pick up this book will be in the middle of intense and painful suffering and pain.

Townsend mentions, in chapter 11, that "The purpose of this book doesn't allow for an in-depth answer to the problem" Townsend isn't trying to solve the reader's problems - He is simply giving us biblical truths, guiding principals to strengthen our faith, encourage our hearts, increase our knowledge of God's character and offer hope.

Knowing that, I think this book accomplishes it's purpose.

The only negative that I saw in this book is that a few of the chapters were a little long and could have been shortened up, but the reading was "easy" making even the longer chapters readable.

If this is a book you are interested in you can purchase it here at amazon.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

1 comment:

For His Glory said...

Thanks for the review. I was just thinking yesterday that I need to find a good book to read on suffering. This sounds like it might just fit. Love you, Jaime