“Honest and Helpful”
This brief book isn't a theological treatise or a memoir, but is a fellow sufferer's reflection on important things to remember in the midst of suffering. Adam Mabry writes about the experience of feeling like God is absent, and although he doesn't share many personal details, he is honest about how some of his experiences have led him to doubt God. The chapters address feeling like God is silent, slow, unfair, disappointing, and wrong. Mabry includes examples of biblical characters' experiences with similar things, shares practical encouragement, and helps readers process how they will respond to their struggles.
Mabry writes in a deeply compassionate way, describing experiences and feelings that people can relate to regardless of their individual set of circumstances. He is willing to speak hard truths when necessary, like in his warnings against the morass of self-pity and a victim complex, but he doesn't expect anyone to suddenly feel better based on theological truths or turn things around in their lives from a few words of good advice. He gives space for grief and processing, and he has wonderful wisdom to share about the importance of emotional self-awareness, especially for men, who are more likely to stuff and ignore their emotions in the midst of hardship.
"When God Seems Gone" is a great resource for Christians who are struggling, and it also makes a good gift for a struggling friend, since it doesn't promise answers or offer platitudes. I would have been interested in more details from the author's experience, since some of the parts about his life are somewhat cryptic, but I respect his desire to keep himself out of it and protect his family's privacy. Also, even though the book could have delved deeper into some topics, its brevity and very concise chapters will help readers who don't have the time or mental energy to read something longer.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.