Saturday, August 6, 2016

Book Review: Being There

Being There. Dave Furman. 2016. Crossway. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Dave Furman shares his experiences--his family's experiences--with readers in this very personal approach to pain and suffering.

Being There is a book written specifically for caregivers but not exclusively for caregivers. To quote from the introduction, "It's a book for everyone who knows people who suffer from pain and loss and wants to see the Rock of Ages underneath their feet. I think it's safe to say that this is a book for all of us."

The first two chapters deal specifically with the experiences of the (primary) caregiver. The first chapter focuses on acknowledging your emotions--your grief and pain--as opposed to theirs. The second chapter stresses the importance of walking with Christ--always, always, always. He is the source of all strength and comfort. The remaining chapters share practical--and personal--tips on what to do and what not to do. For example, in chapter eight Dave Furman has a firm list of TEN things to never do (or say) to someone who's hurting or suffering.

Table of Contents

1. Grieving Your Loss in Another's Pain
2. Walking with God
3. Faithful Friendship
4. Be a Hope Dealer
5. Serve Like Jesus
6. The Power of God in Prayer
7. Hope for the Hard Conversations
8. Whatever You Do, Don't Do These Things
9. The Church's Gracious Pursuit of the Hurting

While the first two chapters really do primarily concern immediate family, the other chapters open things up a bit. How you can serve the suffering in your church, in your community, etc.

I think this is a good book, a useful book. I'm not sure I agree 100% with every single paragraph. But it's good. For example, one of the things you're never, ever, ever supposed to do is give advice to a hurting friend. (You are supposed to point out sins, and be brutally honest in spiritual matters. But refrain from giving any and all 'medical' advice.) Essentially he writes, your friend has a doctor who is way smarter than you ever could be. I suppose this could be a case by case thing--every hurting person being different. Perhaps all desire for research and knowledge should come from the hurting person, but, I still say--be as knowledgeable as possible, do a lot of research, never stop looking for answers, read books, read articles, etc. Don't put your hope in miracle cures and easy answers. But don't brush off the need to stay involved by the belief that--well, the doctor knows best after all.

Now I admit a weakness. I have health issues of my own. Issues that have caused me to do a lot of reading on gluten. And while I would never, ever stop a complete stranger on the street to tell them about "the evils of gluten" and suggest that they would be healthier and happier if they cut out all gluten. If you were my friend, and, I knew you were having health problems--and that the health problems you're having are ones that I've discovered have been linked to gluten. I'd probably break one of the author's 'ten commandments' and say have you considered giving up gluten? I just could not help myself. I don't think it's the great, great, great, great evil he makes it out to be.

Favorite quotes:
Grief is work, and sometimes it's very hard work.
The gospel is true and trustworthy, and it must affect our lives. The good news of God's saving grace in the gospel never gets old. And realizing we don't deserve it always leads us to worship. That's why we don't move on to a better message. There is no better news. The good new of this gospel is balm for our weary souls every day. 
There is a kind of ministry that is without words. It is simply being there. 
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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