Monday, August 16, 2010

Safely Through the Storm - 120 Reflections on Hope

Safely Through the Storm - 120 Reflections on Hope by Debra Herbeck has been a faithful companion of mine during a really awful week. Though I can’t honestly say that the words of faith and wisdom contained within transformed my tears into dancing, the quotes from a number of writers I love did remind me that God does not leave us alone in our suffering, nor does He give us trials so heavy they will destroy us.
The title is actually very telling of the contents and message throughout the work. Often when we embark on a trip, we pray for it to be safe. When someone is having a difficult time, we pray that they will get through it. Sometimes in the midst of a crisis when we’re asking how this could have happened, why, and for what greater good, we sometimes forget that God has promised to bring us safely through the storm. We may get beaten, battered, wind-swept, and worn out in the process, but He will bring us on out the other side.     
Amy Welborn, a well-known Catholic writer, starts the book off with a very down-to-earth introduction in which she mentions how she’s been called to have hope, especially in facing a devastating loss, last year her husband died suddenly at age fifty. This sets the appropriate tone for a book that is full of evidence that suffering doesn’t have the last word, especially in the lives of the faithful.
These reflections touched on many aspects of struggling and a variety of situations when hope is necessary. Most of the passages included are by authors I love dearly and whose names I recognized immediately from other works of theirs I’ve read and studied, such as, Pope John Paul II, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. John of the Cross, Fr. Henri Nouwen, Fr. Benedict J Groeschel, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Julian of Norwich.
I appreciated that the reflections in this book didn’t minimalize life’s trials or the role that hope has in them with pat answers, cute clichés, and namby-pamby advice on how to get through tough times. Real people with real struggles who made it through suffering in mind, body, and spirit while clinging to God resonated on a deep level with me, especially during a very trying week.
I’d recommend this book for those in the midst of the storm who aren’t yet to the point at which they’re ready for singing and dancing in the rain.
This review was written as part of the Catholic books reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Safely Through the Storm - 120 Reflections on Hope.
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