Charles R. Swindoll has been through a lot of tough stuff. As a pastor, college chancellor, radio host and author, he has experienced firsthand many of the troubles that life has to offer. From "Anxiety" to "Temptation" and from "Confrontation" to "Shame," the fourteen topics he covers provide a model for the reader to use when life blindsides him. Thus it is with the authority that comes from experience that Dr. Swindoll generously offers to help those who are struggling with their own particular pile of tough stuff.
GETTING THROUGH THE TOUGH STUFF explores two basic premises that are built on an underlying theme. First, if you are alive on this planet, you will have problems. The second premise is that God has provided us with the original self-help manual, the Bible. The underlying theme is the adequacy of God's love and grace to see us through even the toughest of stuff.
Dr. Swindoll has the gift of knowledge when it comes to the Bible, and he deftly identifies the roots of our "troubles" as well as the solutions to them by referencing biblical stories and passages. In each short, focused chapter, even seasoned believers will wonder anew at the omniscience of God. He knew just what kind of problems we would face, how we would try to solve them according to the wisdom of the world, and how sadly we would fail. Then, as Dr. Swindoll demonstrates, God in His loving and benevolent way provided us with the wisdom of the ages if only we would use it --- not only when things get tough but even before they get tough.
Often, when people have problems, they feel guilty and shamed or angry and resentful. But the problems themselves have been around since the beginning of time. And, more importantly, Jesus Himself experienced them. So when the Word of God offers answers, it can be trusted because the Word Himself did what His Father told Him to do…and it worked. We cannot be exactly like Jesus because, though He was tempted, He never sinned; often our problems are compounded because we do sin. Yet, through God's grace, the same solutions are available to us, and if we truly repent, we won't have to go through the same tough stuff again.
GETTING THROUGH THE TOUGH STUFF is not a simple "take two verses and call me in the morning" book of platitudes. It provides biblical answers to contemporary problems in a loving and gentle way. Charles Swindoll is a man after God's own heart.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on November 13, 2011