Book Review: Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal
Daniel DarlingDaniel Darling is the Vice President for Communications for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC). For five years, Dan served as Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and is the author of several books, including Teen People of the Bible, Crash Course, iFaith, Real, and his latest, Activist Faith. He is a weekly contributor to Out of Ur, the blog of Leadership Journal. His work has been featured in evangelical publications such as Relevant Magazine, Homelife, Focus on the Family, Marriage Partnership, In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley. He has guest-posted on leading blogs such as Michael Hyatt, The Gospel Coalition, OnFaith (Washington Post), and others. He is a contributing writer for many publications including Stand Firm, Enrichment Journal and others. Dan’s op-eds have appeared in Washington Posts’ On Faith, CNN.com's Belief Blog, and other newspapers and opinion sites. He is a featured blogger for Crosswalk.com, Churchleaders.com and Believe.com, Covenant Eyes, G92, and others. Publisher's Weekly called his writing style "substantive and punchy." Dan is a sought-after speaker and has been interviewed on TV and radio outlets across the country, including CNN, 100 Huntley Street, Moody Broadcasting Network, Harvest Television, The Sandy Rios Show, American Family Radio, the Salem Radio Network, and a host of other local and national Christian media. He holds a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry from Dayspring Bible College and is pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He and his wife Angela have four children and reside in the Nashville area. Daniel is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Literary Agency
- 2012 Mar 06
As a pastor I have to counsel many who suffer. Often I'm at a loss as to what to say. I know the right Scriptures to present. I can reassure them that our people love them and are standing with them. But unless I've undergone a similar trial, what do I say?
What do I tell the parent whose child has cancer? What do I tell the wife who grieves the breakup of her marriage? What do I tell my own wife who recently buried her mother at a too-young age?
There are great, theological books on suffering. Books I've read, used as a basis for preaching, and have internalized. They are good. And yet they still seem sort of sterile in a time of personal suffering. There are also many good personal books that talk about the trials of suffering. But many of these lack the Scriptural basis for walking someone through difficulty.
Kelley, a writer, pastor, blogger, and director of discipleship for Lifeway, takes us through his own personal nightmare. One day, a doctor delivered the news that no parent wants to hear: "Your son has leukemia."
I'm a father of four children. The thing I fear most in my life is the serious illness, injury or death of one of my kids. It's the news I hope I never have to hear.
How do you handle this? How do you endure the endless tests, treatments, complications, financial considerations, etc., when your young child has cancer? Kelley walks you through their story with authenticity, vulnerability, and hope. Kelley writes so well, so poignantly and personally. He breaks down the Scriptures teaching on trials and suffering in such an original and practical way. This is a book on suffering and hope that is not theoretical. There are not cheap platitudes. Only the day-by-day struggles of a father trying to make sense of his son's struggle with leukemia.
I think this book may be the best Christian book published in 2012. I hope it reaches the New York Times Bestseller list. It deserves too. It's a book I will gladly recommend to others. I'm thinking of ordering several copies and giving them to people I know who are suffering. The Scriptures Michael applied to his own heart will resonate with anyone who is suffering, not simply those who are grieving a child.
Simply put: this is the best book on suffering I've ever read. It's a beautiful, wonderful read that can help breathe hope into a troubled, restless, angry soul. It has theological weight measured out in easily digestible doses. The book is comprised of short, simple chapters. It's like a running conversation.
I can't recommend this book any higher. If you've ever asked God, "Why?" you need to read Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal.
Michael Kelley, thank you for opening up your heart and sharing your story with us. I pray God uses Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal in a powerful way to inspire hope in millions of people around the world.
Michael Kelley discussing his book: