Each month, you’ll hear from one of us on what we’re reading and a little bit about the book. Enjoy!
I remember the first time I wondered if God was really kind—if the truth I had been taught since birth actually was true. Growing up in church, I was taught that God was always in control. So for my little 8-year-old brain, I thought that must mean that He was also in control of my dad’s cancer and ultimately his loss in the fight against it. It meant that God was answering when I prayed that He would heal my dad, and the answer He had chosen was no.
The thought of father-daughter dances I would never have, the reality of the gaping hole that loss left in our family, and the question of who would walk me down the aisle one day rang in my head and heart for months. Even years.
Have you ever questioned if God is truly kind?
Maybe you don’t say it out loud. Maybe you don’t use the words I did. But when things don’t quite go as you had always planned (or if you are like me, they don’t go as you wrote them in that 3-ring binder of 5, 10, and 20 year plans that I clung to), do you ever wonder, “Is this really it? But why?”
Remember God by Annie F. Downs is a deep dive into the world of disappointments and difficulties—when you desperately want to see God’s hand at work, but it seems harder to trace that you thought it would be. Annie’s “This is not what I thought it would be” experiences are different from mine, but the emotions and questions that come with it are not.
This book feels like a travel diary of sorts, moving through the path that God has been walking His people down since the beginning of time. It’s a journey of healing, help, and learning to trust Him along every step. It shows us the value of setting up reminders of His kindness, just as His people have done over the centuries by setting up piles of rocks as altars, building beautiful cathedrals, and writing psalms of praise to be sung and passed down from generation to generation. As Annie points us to remember God, we are reminded that He is unchanging and that He is kind, always and forever so.
The grief I had to learn to navigate as a child and again as a teen, and then again as an adult, never felt kind. As an adult today, I know that even in the most difficult seasons God is kind, and that His ways are not our ways. It’s not that his ways are different from ours. Instead, Scripture says they are higher. They are better. He is kinder than we can imagine; we just may not always see it. Our world is broken by sin, but God is kindly working to one day put all the pieces back where they go, removing all the sickness, sadness, and disappointments.
This book will remind you anew that God is kind in a way that only a phenomenal storyteller like Annie can. You’ll laugh with her and cry with her, and around every corner you’ll be reminded to remember God’s kindness, to remember His unchangeable nature, to simply remember God.
Mary Wiley is the marketing strategist for women’s books at LifeWay Christian Resources. She hosts the Questions Kids Ask podcast and has written for multiple resources and websites. Mary holds a B.A. in English and Theology from the University of Mobile and is currently pursuing a M.A. in Theological Studies at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mary, her husband, and their two two-year-olds live right outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Learn more about Mary at marycwiley.com.