I was invited to review this book by Moody Publishers who sent me a free copy for that purpose.
James MacDonald wrote When Life Is Hard on the back of a series of sermons he preached while undergoing treatment for cancer. During this time, he dug deeply into God’s word searching for answers to the big questions we all wrestle with. Why do bad things happen to good people? And where’s God when this happens? Unlike some authors who have addressed these issues, I think Mr MacDonald has provided some answers. He’s also not afraid to admit that some mysteries are just too big for our total comprehension.
The book is arranged around four key Bible texts on which Mr MacDonald expounds at some length. I read right through as I would a novel but I really think I’d have gained more from this book if I’d sat with my Bible and a pen in my hand – that’s why I’m reserving the book for further study. Each of the texts gives rise to a principle and each principle contains four lessons so there are 16 in all. Mr MacDonald has provided searching questions for further study as well as prayers to help the reader put into practice the teaching he has given.
Mr MacDonald’s writing style is friendly and informal but he doesn’t pull his punches. He says trials are not something from which we should run, sin needs to be repented of and Satan is a real force for evil in the world. But he also offers the reader hope and some comfort: God loves me even when life is hard, the trials won’t last forever and, when they’re over, I’ll be that much more mature in my faith.
Am I going to welcome trials into my life now I’ve read this book? Well, I won’t be throwing a pity party and I do have a better plan for living with it until it’s done.