Federico Villanueva writes about one of the most di cult tasks any pastor has in the face of tragedy. It is often not possible during such times to rationally or theologically explain why such events occur. This book is not about giving an answer as to why bad things happen. Instead, it is about dealing with the anguish, the pain, the anger, the questions, and the fears with which such events overwhelm us.
Villanueva draws from the wealth of material in the Psalms. He warns against a wrong type of spirituality of denying one’s emotions and feelings, and then forcibly trying to be happy and positive – somehow thinking that this is what it means to always rejoice. Instead he allows people to experience the depth of their God-given emotions and through that to find healing and an awareness of God’s presence. Besides the wealth of biblical insights, this is a practical book filled with examples from Federico’s life and ministry. It is a resource for pastors as it addresses the various issues and feelings that a tragedy evokes and then points to a Psalm that deals with it. What then is most helpful is that he provides sermon outlines that a pastor can use.
Rev Rupen Das, PhD
Tyndale University College and Seminary, Toronto, Canada
This book is a gem, containing both rich and sensitive pastoral wisdom as well as deep biblical reflection. Dr Villanueva brings his academic expertise as well as his pastoral heart to make this an accessible and useful book that pastors and preachers will benefit from enormously.
Rev Paul Barker
Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, Australia
Adjunct Old Testament Lecturer,
Myanmar Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, Myanmar
This is a vital book because, like its author, there are many in our churches around the world who feel “out of place in the gathering” for no reason other than their pain and sadness. Too often, our meetings inhabit a different world from the real one, a world of constant joy and easy life. But the Bible is not like that, as Rico’s faithful expositions make so clear. While drawing on wisdom from modern psychology, the primary focus is on these ancient texts which were ahead of their time and as relevant today as ever. This is food for the mind and balm for the soul, and will restore much needed realism to many churches.
Associate Director - Europe & Caribbean,
Preaching Programme, Langham Partnership