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Desperate for Hope

Title:  Desperate for Hope: Hanging on and Finding God during Life's Hardest Times

Author:  Bruce W. Martin
Pages:  224
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Revell
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988
                One thing I love about books is how they usually are as unique as one snowflake is from another.  In the beginning of the book, the author gives his readers a glimpse of what he has been through as well as some of his friends.  He uses the movie The Perfect Storm as an example of how tragedies can come in our lives.  We don’t usually see them, but we feel them nonetheless. 
                We are reminded that Jesus suffered too; therefore, He knows what we are feeling.  Jesus promises we will never be alone; He will always be with us.  This doesn’t mean we stop having questions.  Questions come about because we don’t see past the pain of the moments ahead.  We wonder where God is.  The book of Job shows us such depth of suffering, the helplessness of some humans.  It also teaches us some truth.  The words hope as well as wait are repeated in Job many times.  Usually we turn to Psalms where those words are often repeated.  All of us want to understand because we think in understanding in the midst of our suffering the pain will be lessened if not alleviated.  Will answers really alleviate our pain?
                As you progress through each chapter, the author provides questions at the end to help guide you in discovering answers.  According to the author, he divides the answers to the “Why?” questions into two categories:  answers that are obvious and some that are not so obvious.  Then, we are taken through the easier of the two categories of the “why?” answers.  Most of these have obvious answers. The author’s questions at the end of the chapters even include questioning God, which some do when tough and painful trials come.  I found it interesting that this portion of the book is entitled Your Story.  Did you ever think that through whatever happened you have a story to tell?
                The book is divided into four main parts:  The Divine Setup, Your Worst Nightmare, The New Normal, and Searching for Meaning.  Using the book of Job as a mainframe, the not so obvious answers to our question of “Why?” to God begin to unveil themselves.  Realize, of course, that this side of heaven we will never get complete answers to our questions and that to me is what makes it hard.  Learning to live after the trial has past is one thing; learning to live without all the puzzle pieces is the other.  The epilogue is entitled:  Famous Last Words.
Nothing in this book provides “pat answers”.  It does, however, give us all something to ponder.  I recommend this book as one to go through in a mentoring relationship and even a small group.  Using it to journal and work through pains and grief is also an excellent use of this book.
My rating of this book is 4 stars.

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