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A unique and compassionate take on the age-old questioning of suffering, this book is perfect for readers who have experienced life-shattering pain, such as divorce, the...
A unique and compassionate take on the age-old questioning of suffering, this book is perfect for readers who have experienced life-shattering pain, such as divorce, the loss of loved ones, bankruptcy, cancer, addiction, and even violent crimes, giving them real answers to their toughest questions and helping them move forward in life after tragedy.
Part 1 The Divine Setup
1 You Want Answers? 19
2 A Bad Call 26
3 Collateral Damage 36
4 Stuff Happens 41
5 The Problem with Grace 48
6 Six Words 54
Part 2 Your Worst Nightmare
7 When God Doesn't Act Right 63
8 You've Got to Be Kidding! 69
9 Going Off the Deep End 77
10 It Is Well with My Soul 85
11 It Can Always Get Worse 91
12 The Path of Least Resistance 97
13 Unclaimed Promises 106
Part 3 The New Normal
14 There's No Going Back 115
15 I Want to Go Home 123
16 Redefining Normal 130
17 Desperate for God? 136
18 Control or Chaos 143
19 Losing It 148
20 Well-Meaning Friends 156
Part 4 Searching for Meaning
21 Brace Yourself! 167
22 Hindsight Is 20/20 175
23 Why God Is Never on Time 182
24 Clever Disasters 189
25 Happily Ever After? 197
26 God Has Remembered Us 204
27 God's Will and Suffering 212
Epilogue: Famous Last Words 221
Posted November 30, 2012
I finished this book recently and thought I would share a review of what I liked and didn’t like about the book.
As I read the book I felt as though I was having a conversation with the author. Instead of a host of information piled up fact after fact, I got real world situations told from a standpoint of experience. It was very easy to read in this style and therefore a “page turner”. I read a good deal and often what I read is cumbersome and difficult. This book was not cumbersome but very easy to understand and the concepts conveyed were grasped with little difficulty. As a result I was able to recommend the work to several people who don’t like to read as much as I do.
Every time I pick up a book to read I expect that I will not agree with all the theology in the book. For instance, when I read Timothy Keller I find that I do not agree with his stance on Theistic Evolution. When I read I. Howard Marshall I know that I will not agree with his theology on perseverance of the saints. I am able to separate these differences in theology and overlook them to get what other nuggets remain.
I was shocked to find that I agreed with the thoughts in the book. There were several times that I found myself in the middle of a chapter thinking, “okay, here it comes”, only to find that by the end it had been tied it up nicely and placed with a pretty theological bow on it. I found the treatments not only sound but insightful. I found some new concepts in the work that I had never considered before which made me very happy. I dread nothing more than finding, upon completion of a book, that it was merely the regurgitation of clichés, other works, or systematic ideas.
3. Back to Egypt
This concept flew off the page at me. How many times have I read that account and not considered its implications? Moreover, how many times have I considered it as a practice in my own life? When the author writes about storming out of the restaurant and the thoughts running through his brain I was not only moved to consider my own actions in that regard but pleased to find that I was not alone. Many times I have grown weary of the fight and thought how easy my life was when I had no regard for what I did – my antinomian years. However, none of those things exhibit the love, or life, of Christ and therefore I cannot use those mechanisms any longer. That does not stop me from thinking of going back to them. I had to realize, after considering the concept, that the thought alone exhibits how little faith I have that God is truly in charge.
4. Control Freak
When the author talks about trying to control or manage your way out of difficulty and return to “normal” I read that with rapt attention. Although I had never considered it, I could see myself in it. In fact, it was so timely and convicting that I had to stop at the end of the chapter to pray about that exact situation in my life.
So, I have to thank him for admitting this in his book and for bringing it to my attention. Although I know I will continue to struggle with it, knowing the root of the problem helps me avoid it. The past week has been the most peaceful for me even though nothing has changed to make it so. Well, something did change but it wasn’t in my temporal kingdom.
5. Your Story
If I just kept building up the book you might take my thoughts as one more pat on the back but of little consequence. So, I’ll not let that happen and let you know I did not enjoy the “your story” portion of the book. I have told myself that it’s because it broke up the narrative, which I thought it did. But I have also considered, as is true, that I didn’t enjoy it because it might actually make me express a feeling. Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than to express a feeling. You’ll have to weigh those two sides, narrative versus expression, and decide for yourself as you read the book.
In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was not only a good read but it was also a help. I appreciated the frankness, openness, and the self deprecation of the author. Those qualities allowed me to step into the nature of the book without feeling cautious and without self loathing.
Posted September 4, 2012
Being a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), I have given numerous copies of Desperate for Hope to those who are suffering and in the midst of a trial. This book provides hope and healing for those seeking comfort from God's Word in the eye of the storm. Written like he talks, Bruce's insight of Scripture into life's biggest questions brings incredible and much needed peace and, unanticipated praise! Thank you, Bruce, for penning a book that will help so many during turbulent, uncertain, often questioning times. I highly recommend it to all counselors as an invaluable resource for clients. I also highly recommend it for bible study as well as support groups.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 29, 2012
God loves us too much not to allow suffering...
If you're looking for a book to tell you that everything's going to work out hunky-dory, this is not that book. At least not in the traditional sense. This is an unabashedly raw look at suffering and God's purposes in our lives through suffering. Bruce uses his own story, and other stories from friends and from historical figures, notably the story of Job from the Bible, to show that God has great purpose in our suffering. God doesn't necessarily cause us to go through storms in life, but He is always at work behind the scenes working for our good, for the good of others, and for His glory.
I have to be honest and admit that after my first read of this book, I was kind of left scratching my head and wondering "where's the hope?" I was expecting more promising chapter titles and subjects than "It Can Always Get Worse" and "When God Doesn't Act Right." But as I reviewed the content for a second time, the hope leapt off the pages at me. How did I miss it the first time? I realized that I had still been holding onto the "oh woe is me, why do bad things happen to me, I'm a good person" mindset. I had been looking for encouraging words that God would continue to bless me if I lived a good life, that He would keep bad things away from me in return for good behavior. But Bruce helped shattered this flawed theology. The truth is that we'll all experience suffering in our lives for various reasons, but our only real source of hope is a God who loves us too much to shield us from every pain that comes our way. There is much good that can come out of suffering, but all too often we only understand this after the storm has passed.
If you've ever gone through your own storm (which you have), if you're looking for serious reflections on the problem and blessing of suffering, if you're NOT searching for pat answers, then read this book. You won't find a quick fix check list to heal your pain, but you will find a soul-searching conversation with the author that may help you start or continue down the long road of hope and healing.
Posted August 29, 2012
Everyone is either in the "Calm before the Storm" or the storm itself. We have all had our own personal crisis. This lovely little book helps with the answer to the biggest question out there, "WHY ME?" It might not be the answer you wanted, but it can shed light on the reasons behind it, and give you HOPE, when you feel there is none left. I recommend this book to everyone in their storm or the calm before it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 27, 2012
I sat down to read Desperate for Hope during a time of great stress and
uncertainty. This book touched my heart deeply! I was reminded that
suffering is never without eternal purpose. I love this quote in the
book,"One of the personal benefits that comes from suffering might
seem strange to you, but it's one of the greatest gifts God has given me
over the years. Desperation."p.134 This book truly speaks to that
truth. Desperation can bring utter dependence on God. And this is a
great eternal gift! We learn that we have no control over life's
circumstances. And we surrender our lives to God who is in control of
all things! And this is where our HOPE lies! YOU will want to read this
book! I am buying this book as a Christmas gift for all my family and
Posted August 24, 2012
Bruce W. Martin in his new book “Desperate for Hope” published by Revell
Books helps us Hanging on and Finding God during Life’s Hardest Times.
From the Back Cover: There is hope after life falls apart. A single
phone call can change your life. There’s been an accident. You have
cancer. The company’s downsizing. Your spouse wants out. All of a
sudden everything spins out of control. At some point, we’ve all felt
painful loss, bitter disappointment, embarrassing failure, unthinkable
betrayal, and the seeming randomness of suffering. Some of us have faced
death. Sometimes it all happens at once. And we have quietly wondered
(or maybe even screamed), “Why is this happening to me? Where is God in
all of this?” The answer may surprise you. With sincere sympathy and
ready encouragement, Bruce W. Martin takes you through a grieving
process that will help you reconcile your deep suffering with your
beliefs about God. A unique and compassionate take on the age-old
question of suffering, this book is for anyone who has experienced
life-shattering pain. Trouble comes to everyone. Let’s face it there
is no getting around it. Pastor Martin tells us that “God is more
intent on perfecting us through trouble than on protecting us from
trouble”. But thee is Hope. Webster’s Dictionary defines Hope as “To
desire with expectation of fulfillment”. “Desperate for Hope” is
divided into four sections: The Divine Setup, Your Worst Nightmare, The
New Normal, and Searching for Meaning. At the end of each chapter is a
section called, “Your Story” where there are questions that will help
focus your attention on the lessons that were taught in that chapter.
All of which are designed to bring hope in time of tremendous pain and
trouble. Let’s face it we all face real trouble and we all are
desperate for Hope. This book will help in the midst of those troubles.
I recommend it highly. If you would like to listen to interviews with
other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where
they are available On Demand. To listen to 24 hours non-stop,
commercial free Christian music please visit our internet radio station
Kingdom Airwaves Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this
book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a
positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am
disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16
CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and
Testimonials in Advertising.” Available August 2012 at your favorite
bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Posted August 23, 2012
There are times when we feel we are caught in the perfect storm with
everything that can go wrong going wrong at one time. But these times of
testing are God allowing us to be perfected rather than protecting us
from the storms of life. But when we are in the midst of our storms we
ask “Why?” Sometimes the storms we find our-self caught up in is one of
our own making because we made an unwise choice. Jonah is an example of
this reasoning. Instead of going to Nineveh Jonah went another direction
and found himself in the midst of a storm and then a very large fish.
When we make wrong decisions God disciplines us because He loves us! Sin
has consequences but God continues to love us. Sometimes we get caught
in the in cross winds of bad decisions and sins made by someone else but
we still have to pay the consequences. But this a chance for God to
prepare us for something else that is coming into our life. Joseph was
sold into slavery by his brothers and accused of a crime he didn't
commit. But God used these times to strengthen Joseph and to prepare him
for the role he would soon hold in Egypt. But Joseph didn't allow
himself to be embittered by his storm, he weathered it and he forgave
those who put him in the storm's path. Life happens and we are not
responsible for the trouble that comes our way. Sickness. An accident.
Job loss. Sometimes we never can point to an exact cause for our
troubles they just develop. Other times there is a spiritual factor to
our troubles, Satan is waging war against us and he is stirring up a
storm to trouble us and to turn us away from God. God and Satan use the
same situations in our lives to try to achieve different results in our
lives. God is perfecting us and Satan is enticing us. Don't allow the
unanswered “Whys” in your life to erode your trust in God. Having a
relationship with God does not protect us from the storms of life, but
it to strengthen our relationship with Him. Job was greatly tested by
Satan and provides us with a look at the spiritual issues we can face.
Satan wants to test us, to drive us from God and salvation, but we must
cry out to God to strengthen us. When life doesn't go the way we
expected, we draw back from God. When the worst happens we pull into
ourselves and try to push God out. We want safety and stability and we
are unsure if we can get this from God. We avoid praising or worshiping
God for what He has done for us because He let pain or loss into our
lives. But this is when we most need God and when our witness can be
most powerful as others watch us weather our storms. In the midst of
our storms if we can still worship God through our sorrow we know that
our soul is on the right path. Life can always get worse, just look at
Job he lost everything except his life. When we hit the rough patches we
can do one of two things – continue on or to take the path of least
resistance away from God. A pain-free, trouble-free is not normal,
throughout the Bible we see examples of suffering and pain and we are
told to expect it. God never promised us that we would be happy,
healthy, and wealthy. We feel that God owes us. But God's greatest gifts
often come to us through our suffering. And when we can find joy in the
midst of our sorrow we have hope. And our hope rests in Jesus' promise
that He will be with us always until the end of our current age. God
provides us with what we need when we need it. The perfect life is a
matter of the soul and the grace God extends to us. I was provided a
copy of this title by the publisher for the purpose of this review and
all opinions expressed are my own. Available August 2012 at your
favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Posted August 15, 2012
This book touched my heart more than anything has in years. It is
drenched with spiritual lessons that bring hope and healing! The
emotional and true stories of hurt and loss capture your heart with a
strong current. If you feel that your life or the life of someone you
love is in "The Perfect Storm", this book is for you! God has
not forgotten you! This book teaches that God meets people in their
weakness, pain and tragedy, and cares for them. This book is direct and
honest. Biblically grounded and real! As the author states in this book
"Perhaps, the greatest miracles God works in our lives come during
the worst of times." This is a wonderful book! Usefull for self
study or in a group format. Great for individuals, counselors, pastors,
etc.. We will be purchasing several for our friends! Wonderful!!!
Posted August 8, 2012
Do you ever wonder what God is up to or if he is really out there paying attention? Does he even exist? How is it possible that he cares about me when so many bad things happen to me and those I care about? Bruce answers these questions and provides a sound biblical basis to back it up. No beating around the bush just honest answers. What an uplifting rubber meets the road book that answers the REALLY HARD Questions. This book has been a strong encouragement to my faith and I was not far into the book before I knew who I was going to pass it on to! Bruce lays out his struggles in a way that you can relate to! It is very funny at times but has a strong focus on laying out the truth of the great love that has been bestowed upon us. Outstanding I strongly recommend the book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 6, 2012
Bruce Martin has written a book that will challenge real people to think. The stories he shares from his life and others show people who have and are struggling with genuine pain and suffering and he is not afraid to challenge the way we think about why good people are allowed to suffer. I have heard many authors and speakers say that while God would never directly cause our pain, he uses the pain and suffering in our lives to teach us and mold us. They hesitate to attribute pain and suffering with God because it seems inconsistent with God's love. Martin debunks that idea. In fact, he argues that the pain and suffering that God allows or directly causes is the result of his perfect love for us. Talk about "tough love"! Nobody wants to experience real tragedy or real pain. But, it happens!
I encourage anyone struggling or anyone who is trying to help someone else who is struggling to read this book. You will be challenged to think about these very real issues in a way that you have not thought of before.
Posted August 3, 2012
This book is wonderful!! Really, really good because it’s really, really real. It is beautiful, encouraging, inspiring and I believe it's going to give a lot of people permission to finally be honest with God and those around them. They will finally be free to say LIFE SUCKS sometimes - for no reason except it just does.
This book has an important message. It's an ancient story told in a fresh, relevant way. He makes it clear, with Scripture to back it up, and through his own story- that God loves us….God delights in us. God is more interested in perfecting us through trouble than protecting us from it. God wants our souls to prosper so He makes us desperate.
This book will leave you with a renewed sense of hope and trust in the One that loves you the most!!
May God continue to make us desperate!
Posted August 2, 2012
Gut wrenching and honest, Bruce voices the questions I've not been brave enough to speak. For anyone who has suffered, is suffering, or will be suffering - here is hope!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 1, 2012
Desparate for Hope is beautifully written and hard to put down. It shares biblical insight that helps the reader reconcile God and suffering…what a precious gift!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 1, 2012
Beauty and hope that comes through suffering is a hard thing to digest but Bruce Martin does a great job at bringing this truth right into your living room in an honest conversational way without giving the typical "Sunday School" answers ...refreshing, honest, and deeply vulnerable as he shares his own personal journey through pain, loss and suffering and how God met Him in those places with abiding hope. It's one of those "hard-to-put-down" books that makes you cry and laugh while giving you , as he calls is -- "obvious" and "not so obvious reasons" why bad things happen in our lives. Some answers are surprising but I believe they are from the heart of God and will encourage others who've been asking "why" for a very long time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 1, 2012
What an incredible book for everyone to read no matter what stage you are in your walk with Jesus. I was blessed to have the author of this book teach me these "words of wisdom" through my personal struggle with suffering in the past. These pearls changed my life. Thank you Bruce for putting in writing what everyone needs to hear. This book is truly a blessing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 31, 2012
I just completed reading it last night. It was excellently written, thought-provoking material. One of the greatest “hurdles” to overcome when trying to understand God’s relationship with mankind is why do bad things happen to good people. This is by far the best attempt I have ever seen to explain, biblically, the answer!
Posted July 26, 2012
I do not believe you have to be in a desperate place in your life to benefit from this book. Bruce sheds light on the Biblical perspective of hard times. He doesn't just pat you on the back and say it will be ok. It is a first hand experience on how to find God's hand in your life regardless of what you have been through. If you haven't been through the gauntlet yet - even better; you can have more hope and trust in God when you get there.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 22, 2012
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Posted July 3, 2013
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