Book Review | Hope When Life Unravels

Several years ago, I ran across a pastor on social media from South Alabama whose son was going through cancer treatments at St. Jude. Being from Memphis, I was interested in following the story. I’ve been praying for Carson Dooley for several years. Hope When Life Unravels by Dr. Adam Dooley is the story of God’s faithfulness through Carson’s journey written in a way that is a powerful resource for anyone that has or will experience something very hard to walk through.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • God is not to blame for your suffering. He is not your enemy; He is your only hope! Location: 453               
  • The issue is not whether God is real, but whether God is enough during seasons of difficulty. He is all that we have and need on the day we are born and the day we die. Suffering reminds us that God is also everything we need to survive every day in between.  Location: 648           
  • God often puts more on us than we can bear, because He has every intention of bearing our burdens for us. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). How is it possible to know the rest of God without first being weary? How can you experience God as your burden bearer if you have no burdens to bear? Suffering reveals a side of Christ that we cannot know otherwise.   Location: 695              
  • Our comfort is not in believing that our troubles won’t be great, but in celebrating that our God is much greater.  Location: 714               
  • Without the prophetic corrections of Scripture, the realities of a fallen world leave us wondering if there is any rhyme or reason to the hardships we face. Yet through the Bible, we learn how to respond to trials (James 1:2–4), that God is purposeful in our suffering (Romans 8:28–30), and that the doorway of the kingdom is opened with the key of tribulation (Acts 14:22). Trials have a way of driving us to search the statutes of God (Psalm 119:71), which in turn sustain us. The longer the suffering, the more intentionally   Location: 771             
  • When we shift our focus away from our problems to the eternal—to the magnificence of the God we serve—the heaviness that we sometimes carry becomes lighter. Worship enables us to set our minds on things above rather than on those things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2). By focusing on who God is, what He has done, and all that He will do, we find the magnitude of our heartaches diminishing under the weight of His glory. Location: 793                
  • No matter what happens today, looking back to God’s habitual faithfulness offers us hope during the difficult moments when God’s goodness is less obvious. Location: 824 
  • “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits” (Psalm 103:1–2). Location: 832              
  • All suffering is temporary when measured against the backdrop of eternity. Location: 847                
  • We fail to acknowledge God’s daily provision in our lives, yet we remain quick to chastise Him when things go wrong. Though we never thank Him for our health, we immediately cry foul when sickness comes upon us. We seldom see time with our family as a precious gift, but we anxiously curse God when the people we love are taken away. Location: 967                
  • When God leads us through seasons of difficulty, it is important to remember how faithful He has been in the past. If we forget what God has done, we will quickly lament what He is doing. We accept adversity from the Lord precisely because our open hands have frequently received His many gifts. Job’s perspective reminds us that followers of Christ trust God to bestow blessings we can handle, while also believing He has reasons every time we suffer. Accepting good and bad from the hand of the Lord enables us to endure affliction for a greater good. Location: 974                
  • Every trial we face has the potential to make us more like Jesus Christ. Even when God does not change your circumstances, you can be certain that He will actively change your character. Only eternity will reveal the manifold goodness wrought out of our greatest tragedies. Location: 1,141                
  • “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Location: 1,191                
  • good memory is the key to finding rest when the fallenness of creation robs us of the peaceful existence we crave. Location: 1,251               
  • When doubt assaults our confidence about what God will do in the present and future, faith compels us to look back and remember what God has already done in the past. Location: 1,255                
  • The presence of suffering is demonstrative evidence that our heavenly Father is doing the work of sanctification in our lives.                 
  • Trials not only change us; they also reveal who we already are. Location: 1,448                 
  • Our confusion over how God works should never diminish our confidence in who God is. Location: 2,330

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