What God is Up to When Things in Life Don't Make Sense
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This second Christian self-help book in a series encourages readers to trust in God’s plans instead of impulsively pursuing their own.

Williams (The God of How, 2013, etc.) is the senior pastor of Gateway Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the chairman of the board of regents of Logos University in Jacksonville. In his years of ministry, he says, he’s learned that people with biblical and secular worldviews approach life’s big questions in different ways. Secular “heart-thinking,” as he calls it, is emotional and instinctive, so it often doesn’t stand up to vigorous reasoning, he says. But the extra complication for Christians, he explains, is that God’s will sometimes doesn’t seem to line up with what they have envisioned for the future: “The goal of all believers should be to avoid being deceived by our own understanding and to develop a listening ear that hears the voice of God with confidence.” Instead of feeling hurt and rejected when personal plans don’t work out, Christians should see evidence of God’s gentle redirection, he says: “God wants to tell a story through your life. It unfolds as doors open and close.” The author illustrates his lessons with relatable anecdotes from his own life. For instance, he says that he never intended to follow in his father’s footsteps as a preacher, but that he believes that God arranged the circumstances that eventually led him into ministry. Experiences that felt like failure at the time, he asserts, turned out to be a blessing. In this book, the author clearly offers his perspective on how life works—it doesn’t bend to human wishes or proceed at random, he says, but develops according to divine will. Along the way, he proposes achievable habits that he says will help readers to know God’s plan, including prayer, Bible reading, and pursuing supportive relationships. Some of the scriptural commentary can be tediously listlike, and devoting a chapter to drawing analogies with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice seems like an odd choice. Overall, though, this book offers a well-structured argument with enough everyday examples to make it feel down-to-earth, rather than unachievably spiritual.

A practical and reassuring work of popular theology.

Page count: 235pp
Publisher: manuscript
Program: Kirkus Indie
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