God is good. But when God does something that doesn’t seem good to us…then what do we do? Does that mean God isn’t actually good?
That’s the question Pastor Luke Norsworthy poses in his new book God Over Good: Saving Your Faith By Losing Your Expectations of God.
Luke Norsworthy is honest about his cynicism and his doubts and then explores Scripture and life to entertain his questions.
There were five things I loved about this Christian Living book and one thing I felt was missing.
First, the five things I loved:
#1 It’s Hilarious.
For real. I mean, I laughed out loud multiple times causing my husband to look up from the coffee history tome that he was reading to ask me what was so funny because, really, when was the last time you laughed out loud reading a Christian Living book? And the funny parts were not warm up jokes for the heavy bits. The funny parts related to the point that was being made.
#2 It Encourages Christians to Deal with the Hard Parts of the Bible
The author points out that a lot of Christians just ignore the hard parts and the hard questions because learning something new or different about who God is or what His plan is means that we would have to change our view of who God is. And we don’t like that. We would rather have things just stay how they are. Instead, Luke Norsworthy calls Christians to deal with hard parts in the Bible like the parts that seem inconsistent.
“Not dealing with the difficulties or the disappointments we have with God means there will always be, at the relationship’s core, something between us and God.”
Then he delves into something that I had noticed the last time I read the story of Moses in the Bible. Something that I had noticed and jotted down in my notebook but hadn’t verbalized to anyone.
If Moses was the most humble man on the earth, would he really write that about himself in Numbers 12? Turns out that some people don’t think that Moses wrote the Pentateuch which I never heard before. I want to do more digging about this thought, but I was excited to hear that someone else had noticed that, too.
#3 It Shows Why We Need to Go to Church
I’ve been hearing more often about people who stop attending their local church and “do church” with just “me and God.” Luke addresses the need for believers to be part of a community of believers. He doesn’t just quote a verse or two, ordering us to go to church because God said so, but he delves into why church is important even though it’s not perfect.
I loved this quote:
“The popular saying that the church is full of hypocrites isn’t true. The church isn’t full of hypocrites. There’s always room for another. Because that’s what we all are.”
He also points out that when we are weak in our faith, hearing about the faith of others lifts us up and encourages us. So when we are discouraged, gathering with other believers is exactly where we need to be.
#4 It Warns Me Not to Reduce My Faith to a Checklist of Beliefs
Listen to this:
“No one has ever believed that an instruction manual, with its precise language and explicit detail, is a higher piece of literature than Moby Dick, The Odyssey of The Chronicles of Narnia because literal language is the lowest form of communication. Yet repeatedly, we try to drag God down into the world of instruction manuals and step-by-step plans, while God invites us to ascend into a kingdom not of this world.”
Luke cites Nicodemus from John 3 as an example. Jesus told him he must be born again so Nicodemus is trying to figure out how to get back into his mother’s womb. Nicodemus is thinking instruction manual. Jesus is speaking kingdom language.
Ouch. I am definitely guilty of this. Instruction manuals are a lot easier to follow. I think this quote stuck out to me so much because I am intrigued by Christians who can bring their imagination to Scripture to help them understand our creative God. Christians like C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle. I want to be able to use my imagination, but it’s a lot of work for me. This is something the fine folk over at The Rabbit Room are coaxing out of me.
#5 It Was Well-Written
Luke Norsworthy is a gifted communicator. The book piques my interest in his podcast. Nowadays, everyone and his brother has a podcast, but it looks like Luke has had some big name guests on his podcast like Annie Downs and Cary Nieuwhof. I’m looking forward to checking it out!
I have a lot more notes and quotes that I scribbled down from the book, but there was one thing I thought was missing:
The One Thing I Thought Was Missing
Although Luke thoroughly discussed how our perception of God is different than who God really is, I was expecting a more thorough discussion on goodness in general. What does it mean that God is good? He had a lot of real-life examples that showed that things we would label as bad or evil actually showed God’s goodness in the end, but I don’t feel like I came away with a better understanding of God’s goodness. I’m not saying this to put Luke down because I really liked the book the way it was, but the title made me expect something different than what I got. That being said, I would recommend that you read it.
And if you do, please let me know, because I’d love to discuss the book with someone who has read it. And my husband would be very grateful too if I could talk to someone else about the book so he can get back to his coffee history tome.
How have you experienced God’s goodness in your life? How has your perception of God grown or matured recently? Comment below!
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