Friday, January 3, 2020

2. A Small Book for the Hurting Heart

A Small Book for the Hurting Heart. Paul Tautges. 2020. New Growth Press. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy] [Christian nonfiction; Devotional; Christian Living]

First sentence: Loss comes in many forms: loss through the death of a spouse, child, or other loved one; loss of relationships through conflict, betrayal, estrangement, divorce, or a move across the country; loss of financial security due to business failure, foreclosure, or long-term unemployment; loss of health or personal dreams because of disability or terminal illness. And the list goes on. Whatever your grief, whatever your pain, whatever your loss, there is comfort available.

A Small Book for the Hurting Heart is a fifty-day devotional for men and women. Each entry is rooted deeply in gospel truths and saturated with Scriptural promises. Each entry is short, concise, a bit no-nonsense. What your heart needs--what any heart needs--is to better know who God is and to better trust His word to us.

I read this one in one sitting. I wasn't supposed to. The author urges his readers to read one per day. To take their time. To let the ministering words have their effect. But I was wearing my book reviewer hat. I didn't have fifty days to slowly absorb with biblical truths. I instead immersed myself in the book. While his approach may be preferred for most readers, I don't know if there's a wrong way to read it. What did I appreciate most about this one? I loved the scripture-saturation. I love, love, love, LOVE the Bible. The Bible is my meat-and-drink. It is where I come to feast. I suppose you could say without a doubt I am a Bible glutton. I don't come sporadically to the table; I come many, many, many times a day. I don't just want a tiny bit here and there. I want MORE, MORE, MORE. So I appreciated his use of Scripture throughout. I thought the book covers the basics well. I could see this one being of benefit to those who are new to Scripture and don't know where to turn in the midst of their pain and grief.

Tears are a gift from God, a means to embracing your pain, releasing emotion, and revealing the depth of your love. Poetically, if God collects all the tears you cry during your life’s journey, if he keeps track of all your sorrows, then surely he cares about them. He is aware of what causes them. God records them all in his book!

Life hurts, but God heals. He heals through Jesus. Because of Jesus’s suffering, you can be assured there is no grief or loss you experience that is outside his understanding or compassion. There is nothing beyond his redemption.

In the Son of God, you have one who is more than qualified to comfort you in the burdens you now bear and the tears you now shed, since he is well acquainted with grief. Though he suffered unimaginable loss, he triumphed in the end. Because of Jesus’s resurrection from the grave, and ascension into heaven, you can have confident hope that all your hurts will one day be healed in heaven. As you think about that future day when God “will wipe away every tear” from your eyes (Revelation 21:4), remember that Jesus is now at the right hand of God praying for us (Romans 8:34).

Grief can lead to worship, if we recognize God’s hand in it. If we allow our grief to focus exclusively on our loss, we might be tempted to try to go it alone—even without help from God. But when grief is embraced by faith, it results in the humility of worship. Worship can and should coexist alongside grief. In fact, grief that does not worship will eventually become self-destructive.

We persevere through the valleys of sorrow and pain by strengthening the grip of our faith on the immovable mountain of God. Since Jesus is a sympathetic high priest, “all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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