Therefore I Have Hope by Cameron Cole
What do you do when the Worst happens?
Cameron Cole’s life was changed forever on November 11th 2013 when he woke up to receive the devastating news that his three-year-old son, Cam, had inexplicably died in his sleep.
Having lived a relatively pain-free life up until that point, Cole had previously wondered if his faith could possibly survive tragedy; however he testifies that:
“Throughout the journey of my worst nightmare- my descent into a dark, sad, valley- the Holy Spirit would remind me of truths that comforted my soul and sustained my life… I could not conceive how anyone could survive such pain if they did not believe certain biblical principles.”
This book outlines 12 of the key principles, which helped him as he dealt with the loss of his son. They are split into three sections- truths that are helpful for dealing with the initial shock of a life-changing tragedy, truths that help in discovering a new normal and finding a way forward, and truths that sustain over the long haul.
There are truths you might expect- such as the promise of eternal life and an end to pain and suffering- but also some that are more surprising- for example, that grasping the truth of our sinfulness can help us avoid bitterness or a sense of entitlement to an easy and comfortable life.
While he shares a lot of his own journey of grief, he also applies the principles more generally. He writes with the authority of one who has been there, who has experienced great suffering, but who has known God’s help and comfort in the midst of it.
There are no platitudes or easy answers, but there is a narrative of hope, based on deep biblical truth, which I think will bring great encouragement and comfort to anyone navigating a painful or tragic situation.
Beginning Unlimited by Liz Grier
Many of you who have read this blog for a while know that one of the greatest blessings I have experienced over the last few years has been the unexpected calling to be part of a new church plant. It has been exciting to be part of something new and different, and to look around now, two years into our journey as a church, and be able to see several examples of lives that have been impacted and ways that God is using our church in our local community.
This book is a diary of a church plant over its first ten years, so I was keen to read about the experience of those a bit further down the line than our little church.
What I didn’t realise though is that this is the diary of a church plant specifically focussing on young people in Exeter. As I was involved in youth ministry very close to Exeter for two years shortly before the period covered by the book it was a double blessing to read as I recognised several of the places and events mentioned, and it was encouraging to read of the continuing work with young people in the area.
The book is a very honest account of life in ministry- both the ups and the downs. It is an easy and enjoyable read, and there are lots of helpful and thought-provoking reflections on the challenges of church planting and life in ministry, but also on the huge potential to impact lives for God.
I think it would be an encouraging read for any Christian, but especially those involved in youth ministry or church planting.
The Seven Deadly Friendships by Mary Demuth
If you’ve ever struggled with a difficult friendship, this book is full of helpful insights.
Mary DeMuth identifies seven types of deadly friendships and helpfully outlines some of their typical characteristics to enable the reader to better understand these relationships and begin to identify them in their own lives.
The book is filled with personal examples and stories from DeMuth and others, and this is helpful in highlighting the different challenges friendships can present.
There are also great tips on dealing with deadly friendships, drawn from the biblical examples of Joseph and Jesus- accepting that we can’t change others, knowing when and how to set boundaries or even end a friendship, and discovering how we can choose a godly attitude even when others are treating us badly.
What about you? I’d love to know what good books you have been reading recently.
I’m grateful to Crossway, Instant Apostle, and Harvest House for access to complementary digital copies of these books. These are honest reviews and I only share books here that I genuinely believe will be beneficial to my readers.
Amazon links are not affiliate links, but simply provided for your convenience.