Our new baby will be here in the coming weeks, and God’s providence is not without some tongue-in-cheek humour, it seems. Within a few weeks of each other, Louie Giglio’s ‘Not Forsaken: Finding Freedom as Sons & Daughters of a Perfect Father’ and Gloria Furman’s ‘Labor With Hope: Gospel Meditations on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood’ have come to me for review. I learned a great deal from both of these books, they’re encouraging, and they’re suitable for everyone (don’t relegate Furman’s book to ‘women only’, whatever you do). They’re both terrific reads about the joyful, pain-mingled work of parenthood and how every day reminds us of our great need of God.
Not Forsaken: Finding Freedom as Sons & Daughters of a Perfect Father (Louie Giglio)
From Tozer’s ‘knowledge of the Holy’, Giglio reminds us that what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. He begins Not Forsaken by addressing all the misrepresentative ways that people often think about God: the man upstairs, the benevolent grandfather, the angry punisher. By removing those incorrect categories, Giglio makes sure his readers are laying the same foundation by clearing away all the rubble before pouring the slab. With compassion, Giglio encourages his readers that no matter what kind of father you have (or didn’t have), God is not the reflection of your earthly father; rather he is the perfection of fatherhood. God—who primarily wants to be known by us as our Father—is everything we’ll ever need. He understands our pain, loves us more than we could ever imagine (demonstrated by him sending his own son to the cross), and has the power to take the worst of what the world has to offer and turn it around for our good.
A particularly praiseworthy observation of Not Forsaken is that typically, popular Christian books can be 1/3 too long, or have a little too much ‘stuffing’ in each chapter. Not so with Giglio. The book is succinct and valuable all the way through; and the last two chapters contain particular encouragement, without which the book would be incomplete. A thoroughly enjoyable, valuable work.
(And the audiobook is read by the author too, which I love.)
Labor with Hope: Gospel Meditations on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood (Gloria Furman)
The beauty and grandeur of the creation mandate is more far-reaching than even the glorious miracle of biological reproduction. By the power of the Spirit, we are called and empowered with spiritual fertility; to fill the earth with the glory of God by making image-bearers of God into disciples; our spiritual children. Gloria Furman beautifully draws out parallels between pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood; as well as all the associated fears and failures, in a way that is moving, helpful, and awe-inspiring. One such parallel was between the birthing mother and the Suffering Servant on the cross, who by his blood delivered us, bringing us out of darkness into his marvelous light. As a dad of 4 kids and husband to a mother who has experienced both birth and miscarriage, Labor with Hope not only opened my eyes further to those emotional experiences but also equipped me to better love and encourage with the hope of the gospel.
Disclaimer: These two books were provided free to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.