Each month, you’ll hear from one of us on what we’re reading and a little bit about the book. Enjoy!
The older I get, the more I realize that the holiday season is not the most wonderful time of the year for so many people. In the midst of Christmas lights and familiar carols, many are experiencing heartache. The lost job. The homesickness. The cancer that’s come back. The sudden loss of a loved one. The list goes on of the hurts that so many around us experience. Or that we experience.
The release of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, seems to come at the perfect time—during a season when wonder and merriment often feel at odds with the circumstances of life. This book is about so many things, but I love how this line on the back cover sums up what the book wrestles with:
What do you do when God’s timing seems questionable, His lack of intervention hurtful, and His promises doubtful?
Talk about a big question.
Throughout her book, Lysa talks honestly about disappointment, suffering, and even devastation. And if your heart is aching, Lysa writes in a way that feels like a friend offering you tea and a seat on her couch. She does not dismiss the messiness of suffering because she has walked through some incredibly hard things. But she does not stop with honesty and understanding. She points to hope that we have in God and His goodness:
And, I’ve learned one more important fact: my hope isn’t tied to my expectations finally being met in my way and in my timing. No. My hope isn’t tied to whether or not a circumstance or another person changes. My hope is tied to the unchanging promise of God. I hope for the good I know God will ultimately bring from this, whether the good turns out to match my desires or not.
Whether we are currently walking through tragedy or not, we all need a reminder of where our hope comes from. In fact, one of my favorite things about this book is that Lysa acknowledges “pain is pain.” She says, “Regardless of whether your longsuffering is because of something big or small, remember pain is pain. It’s relative in the scope of your own life. And God’s promises aren’t just for certain people at a certain low point. His hope extends into any and every size pit or pothole.”
In other words, God’s hope is for your season, no matter the size of your hardship.
And this was so important for me to read. Because I’m not currently walking through tragedy, but I am still learning to trust God even with the small things. I’m a planner who loves to feel in control, and God is teaching me so much—gently—about how I really have no control.
I love how Lysa sums up this wrestling for control that we feel:
Humans are very attached to outcomes. We say we trust God but behind the scenes we work our fingers to the bone and our emotions into a tangled fray trying to control our outcomes. We praise God when our normal looks like what we thought it would. We question God when it doesn’t and walk away from Him when we having a sinking suspicion that God is the one who set fire to the hope that was holding us together.
But Lysa does not end there. Because the beautiful thing about learning that you aren’t control is that it can be incredibly freeing. Because we know the One who IS in control.
Though we can’t predict or control or demand the outcome of our circumstances, we can know with great certainty we will be okay. Better than okay. Better than normal. We will be victorious because Jesus is victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57). And victorious people were never meant to settle for normal.
If you are looking for hope this season (and aren’t we all), I cannot encourage you enough to buy this book. Add it to your Christmas list or grab it for a friend who you know needs God’s hope this season. This truly is the perfect read for this crazy, busy life we live.
Jessica Yentzer is a marketing strategist on LifeWay’s Adult Ministry team. Well-written memoirs, dark chocolate, a good running trail, and the perfect fall day are just a few of the things that put a smile on her face. When she’s not planning editorial calendars or marketing strategy, she loves hiking and exploring the outdoors with her husband, Grant.