Where is God when life delivers disappointment instead of dreams?
This is the question author Karen Beattie eloquently addresses in her newly released, “Rock-Bottom Blessings, Discovering God’s Abundance When all Seems Lost” (Loyola Press, 2012).
When I read the title of Beattie’s book, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it. I seemed more in need of a read along the lines of “Mountain-Top Blessings, Discovering How to Have the Life You Want.” Reading about someone else’s disappointments didn’t seem nearly as appealing.
Then Beattie’s book arrived in the mail and I began to read. And read. And read. Not only is Beattie an honest writer. She is also very good. By the end of page one, I forgot I was reading the book to review and was swept up in the writer’s struggles and questions and fears. From finances to family to faith, Beattie has wrestled with it all.
The story begins with a job layoff in Chicago and recounts Beattie’s rural childhood searching for God. As a former Baptist who converted to Catholicism, Beattie also delves deep into theology without the fluff of modern evangelicalism, which often seems to promise life with God should be one rosy sunrise after another–complete with coffee and a fluffy white bathrobe.
“I felt anxiety and ugliness when I thought of following the way of riches,” Beattie writes. “That’s what I’d been doing all this time–trying to attain material wealth and created my own ‘abundance’ to help me feel like I was OK, that I was worth something, that I was secure and loved. That I mattered. I was tired of it all. Plus, it wasn’t working… In contrast, thinking about the way of Christ felt freeing.”
Ah, the way of Christ. That Christ. The one who suffered. Who made himself poor. Who emptied himself out. Who followed the Father.
So does Beattie, including through a particularly painful struggle with infertility that brings her to an unexpected ending–one that reveals God’s blessings often arrive in a package different from what we were expecting.
A copy of this book was provided to me free by the author. For a chance to win an autographed copy, post a comment on this web site or subscribe anytime this February. The winner will be announced on Facebook on March 1.
What are you reading this Wednesday?