The Blessings of Brokenness by Charles Stanley
“If God is such a loving & good God, why does He allow bad things to happen to good people?” That is a question I have both heard & thought many times in my own life. The Blessings of Brokenness by Charles Stanley is a fantastic resource to guide any reader
through the meaning, importance, & answer to that question. This is often an incredibly huge topic. Some authors might answer this question with very complex, theological, “churchy” words, but Stanley does an excellent job of breaking this discussion down in a basic, step-by-step way, that any non-Christian, new Christian, or long-time Christian can understand.
I also love, especially towards the end, how he uses some great poems that really demonstrate the ideas he lays out in the book. One such example…and honestly, I remember when reading this I burst out in tears halfway through. My husband walked in & I tried to pretend like it was “just the onions” I hadn’t been cutting. (The highlighted section was the part the hit me the most)
“He sat by a fire of sevenfold heat
As he watched by the precious ore
And closer He bent with a turning gaze
As he heated it more and more.
He knew he had ore that could stand the test
And He wanted the finest gold
To mold as a crown for the king to wear
Set with gems with price untold.
So, he laid our gold in the burning fire
Though we fey would have said, “Nay,”
And He watched as the dross that we said
We had not seen was melted and passed it away.
And the gold grew brighter and yet more bright
But our eyes were filled with tears.
We saw but the fire, not the master’s hand
And questioned with anxious fears.
Yet our gold shown out with a richer glow
As it mirrored a form above
That bent o’er the fire, though unseen by us
With the look of ineffable love.
Can we think that it pleases His loving heart
To cause us moments of pain?
No. But He saw through the present cross
The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye
With a love that is strong and sure
And His goal did not suffer a bit more heat
Than was needed to make it pure.”
– Unknown (p.145-146)
To be honest, there is not much I can say that I didn’t like about this book. The only thing that comes to mind is that it can come across as information overload. As I said above, it is not because Stanley uses a lot of “churchy” or theological words, but mainly because it is just a weighty topic that, if you are truly seeking the answer to, will make you struggle with yourself & your beliefs about God & His purposes. It took me about a year or so to complete it. I would read it, get A LOT out of it, but just have to put it down to give myself time to process, think about, & pray over what I read. Ultimately though, it will bring you to a much stronger place in your faith & walk with God if you let it.
I genuinely recommend this- for those that just want to know “why bad things happen to good people” but aren’t going through anything themselves, and even more so to those that are going through difficult times, no matter what they may be. Honestly, this book came into my life at a much-needed time. For years, especially those between college & full-fledged “adulting”, I SERIOUSLY struggled with anxiety & even some depression. Between 2013-2015 I went through a really hard time- spiritually, mentally, emotionally, financially, & physically. I remember by late 2014 describing how I felt to someone as being like a block of wood that went into life with personality only to be slowly worn away by the “sandpaper” of life, to the point I felt there was almost nothing left of me. My dad recommended the book to me around that time. I had not gone through any 1 single completely devastating event, but everything put together, all the transitions, responsibilities, fears, & uncertainties were too much & overwhelming. As I read, I really had to wrestle, process, & pray over the ideas & information I was confronted with. Ultimately, though, after a year of on-and-off reading, I finally finished the book. It was a fantastic resource to guide me through those turbulent times. It guided me through a time of questioning God & His actions, to a point of being able to prayerfully accept things that happen in life, to become stronger in Christ, to look for ways God is trying to mold, shape, & strengthen me, & look for the lessons I can take away from any situation- good or bad.
About the Author- taken from bio of author in dust jacket of book & Wikipedia:
Dr. Charles Stanley is the senior pastor of the 13,000-member First Baptist Church of Atlanta, the founder & president of a popular broadcast speaker for ‘In Touch,’ a national TV & radio program, & has served 2 1-year terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has written many books.
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**The decision to review this book was based on my own experience and not at the request of any person or entity.**