The Promise: God's Purpose and Plan for When Life Hurts
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The Promise: God's Purpose and Plan for When Life Hurts

4.6 25
by Jonathan Morris
     
 

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The Fox News Commentator and Catholic Priest Explores the Central Question for Hard Times: Why Does God Allow Us to Suffer?

Overview

The Fox News Commentator and Catholic Priest Explores the Central Question for Hard Times: Why Does God Allow Us to Suffer?

Editorial Reviews

Rev. Richard John Neuhaus
“A persuasive invitation to a fuller life.”
Sharon Deitrick
“Father Jonathan has allowed the reader entrance into his private study where he welcomes and converses with us on a personal yet riveting journey. His spiritual insight is profound!”
Raymond Arroyo
“With true compassion Father Jonathan Morris tackles a reality we will all confront sooner or later...His specific advice shows all of us how to turn tragedy and pain into spiritual gifts that can actually heal us in unexpected ways. Here’s a Promise worth keeping, and sharing with others.”
Steve Doocy
“Easy to understand, with stories that everybody can identify with, The Promise left me with a better understanding of God’s way, when life hurts. I’ve already given a copy to someone who is suffering a personal challenge...”
Charles J. Chaput
“...Pope John Paul II spoke often and eloquently about the meaning of suffering. Father Morris has written a wonderful sequel to the Holy Father’s thoughts, but from a very different perspective: that of a young priest; a man of energy, insight, world experience and engaging popular style.”
Steve McEveety
“The Promise will be for the book world what The Passion was for film—a watershed moment of inspired creativity capable of transforming lives from the inside out. Don’t believe me? Ask my wife, she read it too and is already passing it on to family and friends.”
Chris Wyatt
“The Promise is a must read for those experiencing life’s difficult trials. Clearly, Father Jonathan is fast establishing himself as one of the most respected religious figures of our times.”
Reverend - Richard John Neuhaus
"A persuasive invitation to a fuller life."
Publishers Weekly

Morris, a Roman Catholic priest and Fox News analyst, draws from his religious tradition as well as his experiences in the world of media to present understandable and genuine advice for those who suffer-in other words, everyone. The "promise" of the title is God's promise to bring something better out of suffering. For some, this may oversimplify the matter, but for others it will provide a glimmer of hope. One of the most useful chapters addresses the various images of God that people hold-all of which are incomplete, and some of which can be seen as spiritually harmful. The author describes these images accurately, ties them in with how people who maintain those images view suffering and uses real-life examples he has encountered in his ministry. The theodicy question (why does a loving God allow suffering?) will always present a quandary to believers of all stripes. Morris is successful in making the claim that it is possible to sustain one's faith in the midst of what is sometimes a cruel world. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061353420
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/03/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
183,962
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Promise
God's Purpose and Plan for When Life Hurts

Chapter One

Do You Even Care, God?

Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.
—1 peter 5:7

When a mother kisses the cut on her son's scraped knee and promises, "This will make it go away," she isn't telling a pious fib. Her presence, in her lips and in her words, truly heals the hurt.

The Scriptures say that God is love (1 John 4:8), but when it comes to someone being there for us when we suffer, it seems our earthly mother is a whole lot more reliable than our heavenly Father.

Where is God when we need him most?

A story from the Gospel of Mark explains beautifully one of the key elements of the Christian theology of suffering: God is with us.

If you want to understand Christianity, if you want to understand—or rather to know—Jesus Christ, this is a good place to start. You aren't so sure you believe that a two-thousand-year-old story has anything to do with your pain? That's understandable. For now, I invite you to just listen in.

Jesus is traveling across the sea with his disciples after an evening of preaching to the crowds. He decides to catch up on some sleep while his disciples, seamen by trade, tend to the navigation. Little by little night falls, the breeze builds, a light shower becomes a downpour, and the waves gain strength. Unexpectedly the travelers find themselves in the midst of a violent squall while the rush of cold seawater mercilessly swamps their little boat.

They skate across the deck and holler betweenthemselves, futilely trying to keep their humble vessel afloat. But all is in vain, and they know it. Hope is cast away and swallowed up in the tempest. Where is God in all this?

Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" (Mark 4:38)

In other words, "Of course you don't care, or you wouldn't be in the back of the boat. Do you really think we believe you're sleeping in the middle of a squall?"

Frustration and fear are in that question, but also grief: "We're dying! Don't you care?" That would be the real horror. Maybe God just doesn't care. Maybe all our pleas just fall on deaf ears.

The disciples asked this for the rest of humanity. All eyes are on Jesus. All ears are waiting on his word. The disciples said their piece. They expressed their gripes plain and clear. They accused Jesus, the divine Son of God, of indifference. Can't you just see the nameless disciple with soaked hair pasted to his forehead, glaring into Jesus' eyes as if to say, "Anything to say for yourself, Teacher?"

He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Quiet! Be still!" The wind ceased and there was great calm.

Then he asked them, "Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?"

They were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?"
(Mark 4:39-41)

The most compelling part of this Gospel story is that it is true. It really happened: the man who calmed the seas and who claimed to be divine submitted himself to the same tumultuous waves as the mortals who complained. The narration mirrors our posture before God and his before us. It unveils our ignorance, self-centeredness, and lack of trust. In the face of threatening troubles we question God's power; we doubt his goodness. The God whose blessings we were counting brief moments before is now the target of our pointing finger.

Kim was a real-estate agent with a handsome husband named Jim, who made a good living selling corporate insurance. He had a membership at the country club, and he and their three boys were into sailing. Winter vacation was often spent in Naples, Florida, where they held a timeshare. Private school for the kids, K through 12, was a given. Life was good and fast, but, on top of their busy schedules, they usually squeezed in time for church on Sundays. They weren't religious fanatics, and from what I remember they were proud of that, too. Religion was a cultural thing and served the good purpose of teaching moral principles to the kids and calming what would otherwise be guilt-ridden parental consciences.

In other words, faith was something they did, not lived.

Kim was zipping down the Van Wyck Expressway on her way to pick up Jim at Kennedy Airport one Saturday morning. The Land Cruiser suddenly stalled, and she slowed to a stop on the shoulder. As she huffed and sheepishly went to lift the hood, she managed a nervous laugh. What do I know about cars? she thought. Puzzled and anxious, she cupped her face into her hands and then looked down to see the cars passing beneath her: she was on the overpass. Then came the crash.

An eighteen-wheeler collided with her back bumper and catapulted Kim to the perpendicular freeway stories below. The first speeding cars managed to dodge her body. When emergency vehicles arrived on the scene they found her alive, barely.

Kim was transported to a nearby hospital, where—days later, when she came to—she learned she had fractured fourteen bones and suffered a concussion. The doctors informed her husband that she wouldn't be leaving anytime soon.

The suffering had just begun. Kim was in a full-body cast and virtually immobilized. That would be her story for the next twelve weeks. Beyond that, since the moment she awoke, she was in excruciating pain, and no medicine seemed to offer any relief. Jim was beside himself that the doctors couldn't ease her suffering. All he could do was keep her company. The rest of the family did the same, taking long and wearisome shifts.

The Promise
God's Purpose and Plan for When Life Hurts
. Copyright © by Jonathan Morris. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are saying about this

Steve McEveety
“The Promise will be for the book world what The Passion was for film—a watershed moment of inspired creativity capable of transforming lives from the inside out. Don’t believe me? Ask my wife, she read it too and is already passing it on to family and friends.”
Sharon Deitrick
“Father Jonathan has allowed the reader entrance into his private study where he welcomes and converses with us on a personal yet riveting journey. His spiritual insight is profound!”
Richard John Neuhaus
“A persuasive invitation to a fuller life.”
Raymond Arroyo
“With true compassion Father Jonathan Morris tackles a reality we will all confront sooner or later...His specific advice shows all of us how to turn tragedy and pain into spiritual gifts that can actually heal us in unexpected ways. Here’s a Promise worth keeping, and sharing with others.”
Chris Wyatt
“The Promise is a must read for those experiencing life’s difficult trials. Clearly, Father Jonathan is fast establishing himself as one of the most respected religious figures of our times.”
Charles J. Chaput
“...Pope John Paul II spoke often and eloquently about the meaning of suffering. Father Morris has written a wonderful sequel to the Holy Father’s thoughts, but from a very different perspective: that of a young priest; a man of energy, insight, world experience and engaging popular style.”
Steve Doocy
“Easy to understand, with stories that everybody can identify with, The Promise left me with a better understanding of God’s way, when life hurts. I’ve already given a copy to someone who is suffering a personal challenge...”

Meet the Author

Father Jonathan Morris is a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of New York and serves in campus ministry at Columbia University. He is also an analyst for the Fox News Channel and host of the News & Views program on The Catholic Channel, SiriusXM. His books include the New York Times bestseller The Way of Serenity, God Wants You Happy, and The Promise: God's Purpose and Plan for When Life Hurts.

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Promise 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
StrangeCloud More than 1 year ago
Father Morris has written a wonderful book addressing the age-old question: if God loves us, then why is there so much suffering in the world? Rather than providing the reader with the standard, church-approved answers, Father Morris uses real life people and situations to illustrate how that although we may not understand God's plan and fully comprehend the nature of his love for us, God offers us a way to deal with the suffering and transform our spiritual life. His "Principles for Freedom-Living" are a guide that anyone, regardless of personal religous beliefs or preferences can use to better their existence in this world.
stormsTC More than 1 year ago
"the promise" by father jonathan morris is a very exellent book that offers everyone no matter what faith alot of courage and peace from their life whean they are facing tough storms. what is special about this book is it has some exellent questians and awnsers in the back of the book that I think we offten struggle with and I know I do. this is a great book for a Bible study or discussuion group to use. great gift idea for a friend or family member.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author takes you through the steps of recognizing the answer of why bad things happen and God allows them. It is thought provoking and filled with examples and life experiences.
Cal_Bibliophile More than 1 year ago
Father Jonathan Morris has achieved a difficult feat with The Promise: His book is accessible to readers from all walks of life, yet never offers facile platitudes in answer to that universal question, "Why is there suffering?" He examines the many forms of suffering in the light of Christ's teachings and example, and arrives at answers that are simple, yet profound. While the book is written from the perspective of a Catholic Christian, anyone could benefit from reading this book, regardless of their creed or lack of one.
EKC More than 1 year ago
Very readable, a common sense approach to faith.
Guest More than 1 year ago
father jonathan morris(who is the faith commentator on fox news) has writtion a very remarkable book 'the promise' which address`s the different questians that we face whean life hands us alot of discouragment that really challenges our faith and breaks our heart. this bestseller offers some inspirational awnsers that gave me peaceful solutions and I was very pleased with the exellent scripture references as well as the wonderful and most helpful study guide. this is very hard to put down and is a great gift idea for a friend or family member and would be great for a Bible study.
Paula65 More than 1 year ago
This book is well written and approaches a very deep and philosophical question in a very straight-forward manner. While it probably would not satisfy someone will little or no faith, anyone considering themselves a person of faith, who struggles with the idea of God allowing tragedies to befall innocent people will find plenty to ponder and consider. It has certainly helped me to consider the whole subject in ways I did not before.
NIPPY More than 1 year ago
This book presents God's caring hand in a wonderful, readable way. It is the kind of book you will want to have in a handy place where you can refer to it again and again. It draws you in closer to Jesus, and helps you understand how much He loves you.
Pugbp More than 1 year ago
A book that you will want to read and retread
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. He puts things in easy simple terms. His "Principles for Freedom-Living" is a must read. I've been to church my whole life, but found a lot of Aha moments in this book. It is very insightful.
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