Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Review: Finding God in My Loneliness

Finding God in My Loneliness. Lydia Brownback. 2017. Crossway. 174 pages. [Source: Review copy]

In Finding God in My Loneliness, Lydia Brownback argues that every person--every man, every woman, every child--experiences loneliness in one degree or another. It doesn't matter if you're young or old, if you're single or married or divorced, if you've got twenty kids or zero kids, if you're working six jobs or no jobs. Every person is prone to experiencing loneliness. (And there is a distinction between being alone and feeling lonely.) We're lonely for a reason: Eve ate the apple.
"God created human beings with a capacity for loneliness so that we would yearn for and find our all in him."
"The loneliness we experience is a consequence of sin and has been ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God. The couple hid from God after they ate from the forbidden tree, and that’s also when they began to hide from each other. Loneliness began in the garden."
The goal of this one is to show readers that they are never truly alone, and that all of God's people have felt lonely. Each chapter examines a story--a person--from the Bible and deals with different ways of experiencing loneliness.

Favorite quotes:
"Self-seeking breeds loneliness; self-forgetfulness breeds fullness."
"We won’t know him as our greatest treasure if our view of him is skewed, and the more we seek escape from our pain in worldly things, the more warped our view of God becomes. Instead of looking for a way out of loneliness, we need to look at Jesus. Only then will we discover that he is what we’ve been looking for all along. And only then will we really be willing to “sell” our earthly possessions and acquisitions for the sake of God and his kingdom."
"All relationships are tainted by brokenness in one way or another because all of us are tainted by sin. Worst of all are the guilt-ridden thoughts that demand a place in our overburdened heart. The hurtful remarks we wish we’d never said; the selfish things we wish we’d never done; the requests for help we refused to heed—no one can fix this for us. No kind words can erase the past. We are alone in our pain."
"When he paid for our sin on the cross, he bore the weight of its consequences too—every sorrow and every broken thing for every one of his people. It’s beyond our comprehension, but it’s true. He knows us personally, and his knowledge includes a comprehension of what each of us uniquely feels. We are not alone after all."
"We miss so much if we fixate on what we need to fit into the world around us. We imagine how much better life would be if only, but even if those if onlys come to pass, they won’t fulfill us the way we think they will. Only Jesus does that. If we’re not convinced, it’s because we haven’t really tasted how good it is—how good he is. Once we do, we won’t despise our differences anymore. We certainly don’t have to like them, but if they linger, we can come to know a sweetness that we wouldn’t trade for anything. Are we willing? That’s the real question. If we let him choose for us, we will find way more than we’ve been hoping for with all our striving." 
"Unlike Jesus, we bring a good bit of our loneliness on ourselves through sin and selfishness. Unlike Jesus, we deserve to be lonely. Being left alone is a fit consequence for sin. But Christ hasn’t left us there. He has come to rescue us from ourselves and all we do to destroy our lives and our relationships. He gives us himself when the people we love have left us. And he fills up from himself what no person or circumstance in this life can ever fill—that aching place in our heart we call “loneliness.” During his earthly life and in his death on the cross, Jesus did loneliness for us. He is back with his Father now, and he comes to take us there too. Close your reading of this book with Jesus’s words to lonely hearts: Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. . . . I am the way, and the truth, and the life. (John 14:1–3, 6)"

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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