Saturday, May 25, 2013

Christian books I'd like to read in 2013

It's been a while since I wrote about the books I want to read! Looking at last year's list, I read a few books that aren't on the list, and listed a couple that I didn't read. So this won't be accurate.

But since I have a pile of books on my shelf just begging to be read, and since I've got a clear reading plan - something that happens, oh, about once a year - I thought it was time to share this year's list with you. Better late than never!

Last year, the theme of my reading was "marriage" and "sharing your faith". This year, it's "suffering". Perhaps for obvious reasons. But not quite so obvious, because Ben has been ill for 3 years now, and Lizzy struggled a few years before that. It's been a long road. So why now?

Because my grief and sorrow have reached the point where, instead of flinging accusations at God, begging for healing (well, I'm still doing that, but with more trust in the answer he gives), and giving way to despair, he is teaching me to trust and rejoice through this time. Call it the "acceptance" stage of grief - call it what you will! - but my emotions are more settled. This trial is still hard, so hard. But God is near, and he is good.

So I now have the brain space to reflect on suffering. Everyone processes suffering differently, but I like to think through things. I want the answers God's word gives. I want to share what I learn. I'm thinking of writing an article about a few books on suffering later this year. Not sure if that will happen! But I'll read some all the same, God willing.

Books on suffering aren't the only ones on my list. And, of course, I'll keep reading novels of all kinds, because that's what I do to relax.

So here they are, the Christian books I'd like to read in 2013. (I'd love to see your list!)

Late last year, I read missionary Naomi Reed's Heading Home. I loved it, but wasn't really in the state of mind to absorb it, so I'd like to re-read it. Beautiful reflections on our true home.
Two years on, and, on my mornings off, I'm still working my way slowly and happily through King's Cross (it's now published as Jesus is the King).
Now for books on suffering. A long list, in reading order. I may not make it to the last couple. I recently finished Joni Eareckson Tada and Stephen Estes' wonderful When God Weeps.
I am currently reading Paul Grimmond's Suffering Well. I highly recommend it! A clear, bracing, strengthening read.
I'm looking forward to reading Nancy Guthrie's Holding on to Hope. She's a great author, so biblical and encouraging.
Don Carson's How Long O Lord deserves a re-read. There's no better book on suffering.
A friend recently recommended and reminded me of the existence of Philip Yancey's Where is God When It Hurts. I'm guessing it's experiential in tone.
I haven't read John Dixon's If I were God, I'd end all the pain, but I enjoy his books. I assume this will be apologetic in tone.
A book about doubt, something I battle and have been wanting to read about for some time: Os Guinness' God in the Dark
A very practical little book on reading the Bible with people: David Helm's One to One. I led a seminar on this recently.
A book to read with my friend Jane, about living life as a human: Zack Eswine's Sensing Jesus. I read the first chapter and enjoyed the rich language and all-too-familiar reflections on burnout, but I have no idea what this will be like.
A book about union with Christ, something I need to think about for some talks on Colossians: Rory Shiner's One Forever.
A book to give a friend, recommended by my friend Julie-anne: Bill Medley's Religion is for Fools.
A book about writing, recommended by my friend Jenny, so far hilarious and helpful: Douglas Wilson's Wordsmithy.
Two manuals I'm working through with women I'm training: Matthias Media's The Course of Your Life (it's my first time through this, and it's excellent);
and Growth Groups (an old favourite).
A book I'm still reading, slowly but surely, with my daughter Lizzy (and mostly, but not always, agreeing with): Carolyn Mahaney's Girl Talk.

What are you reading in 2013?


Brad Hansen said...

Hi, Jean - One other book on the subject of suffering: it's a book called "The Storm Breaks" by Derek Thomas. It's a commentary on Job which came out of his doctoral research on the sufferings of Job. I haven't read it myself but hope to (this year?)

Some verses which I'm praying through for our son who has migraines is Jer. 33:6,8,9) I won't write them out; much too long. But I'll think of Ben as I review them.

Brad Hansen

Jean said...

Thanks, Brad. I appreciate the suggestion. The Nancy Guthrie book is also on Job. In fact, I have a friend writing a commentary on Job, so maybe I should ask him!