Finding Faith in the Dark: When the Story of Your Life Takes a Turn You Didn't Plan
Laurie Short is an associate pastor at Ocean Hills Covenant Church in Santa Barbara, CA. Formerly Laurie Polich, she has focused the bulk of her career ministering at youth conferences, women’s conferences, denominational gatherings, colleges and churches. She also has written 13 books for youth and youth workers.
Short’s newest title, FINDING FAITH IN THE DARK: When the Story of Your Life Takes a Turn You Didn’t Plan, lives up to its expectant promise. Unlike her other works, this one is aimed at adults who are experiencing life play out in ways they never planned. The book is replete with tragedy and triumph as Short relates real-life stories of individuals whose lives have done exactly what her title suggests. She describes a variety of scenarios in which marriages have crumbled (or have never taken place), disease takes front and center in life and the relationship, and childbearing just doesn’t happen (or a child’s life ends all too soon).
"FINDING FAITH IN THE DARK is a treasure trove of insight, encouragement and blessed hope for all who suffer disappointment, darkness and defeat."
Short talks about her own dramatic story cliffhanger as she shares the depth of heartache she had to endure when her fiancé was called overseas prior to their wedding. As if that weren’t difficult enough, she explains that after he returned and she expected a wedding, he told her he was going to remarry his ex-wife instead. Reeling from this crushing blow, it took her an extremely long time to regroup emotionally. During that dark period of her life, the book’s premise grew and finally blossomed into the insightful work from which readers can learn and heal, as did the author.
One of the most important elements of the text is that Short finds a way to locate God’s presence in the midst of darkness. She searches for clues of His whereabouts in a way that is both encouraging and instructive to us all. In fact, Short helps to guide believers into a rare depth of trust in God and in His plan for their lives exactly when they need it most: when everything around them screams that God is not to be trusted and that His plan for them is not a good one.
Short divides her book into four parts: faith in the dark; God in the dark; waiting for the light; and when grace filters through. In these sections, she says that in our deepest moments of suffering, it is most common to ask three questions: Why is God hidden? Why is God silent? Why is God unfair? For some folks, these questions sit silently in the backs of their minds, simmering away. For others, their faith grows lukewarm, and they no longer expect anything from God. The third response, however, is when folks are willing to live in the disappointment and silence, waiting for God to show up. At that final place, Christ followers can discover that God’s best care for us sometimes comes when we take the next step and risk following Him into strange territory.
FINDING FAITH IN THE DARK is a treasure trove of insight, encouragement and blessed hope for all who suffer disappointment, darkness and defeat.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on August 13, 2014