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Book Review: Max Lucado's For the Tough Times

I once had a pastor tell me that he had read some of Max Lucado's books, but found the writing to be 'simplistic' and therefore of little value. Well, this weekend I read Lucado's book For the Tough Times. That's right, it's a nice little book that took just about an hour to read. And I would agree with a portion of that pastor's assessment. This book is definitely simplistic. Pastor Lucado tackles the problem of suffering and the seeming silence of God, and does so 79 pages that are 4 inches wide and a little over 6 inches tall. Not a lot of words.

Yet those words are effective. Taking Biblical examples from the narratives of Old and New Testament, empathizing with the anguish of the Psalmists, and seeing the answer of God in the prophets and ultimately the life of Christ, this is a short, guided walk along side markers of the suffering, chaotic world with the reminder that God has never, and never will abandon His own. The length is actually quite comforting, as it does not take days of reading to find out what Lucado thinks God has to say about the issue.

The answer is, in fact, quite simple. But for a people called to believe with faith like a child, isn't simple closer to true? Do we really need massive theological constructs to understand the world? Or, perhaps, should we learn to accept that "God is in control" is not just an answer to consider, but the answer to hope in?

As far as the broader scope of Max Lucado writing 'simplistic' books, I should know...I have nine on my shelf, one I wish I could find again, and they are ever present helps, drawing me back to the simple nature of faith, remembering that God is my help. Sometimes, simple isn't just better. It's right.

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