Christians are supposed to be “the light of the world.” Yet we seem to spend most of our time stumbling in the dark. We want answers carved in stone, and instead we get uncertainty. We want a clearly marked path and a panoramic view of the future, and God gives us only fleeting glimpses of what lies ahead—and just enough light to take the next step.
So what do we do?
We take the next step.
In her much anticipated follow-up to Looking for God, Nancy Ortberg takes readers on a journey that began thousands of years ago. From an ancient cave in Turkey to the California coast, Nancy highlights the often unexpected, sometimes imperceptible, yet always extraordinary means God uses to light our way through even the most painful and challenging moments in life.
- Seeing God In The Dark Places
Seeing In The Dark by Nancy Ortberg is a book about the tough, dark places that we often find ourselves in because of grief, circumstances, trials or loss. It is an attempt to find God in those dark places and convey that God will use those traumatic times for His glory. The author uses a lot of examples of how people have seen God move in their dark places and the results of them using their experiences in the dark places to help others in a similar state.
I found this book very helpful because I have been in these places before when God feels distant, none of my friends or family truly understand what is happening and there seems to be no end in sight. It was comforting to know that others have similar experiences and about how God can use them for good. I was particularly moved by the last chapter on benediction and about how we should be speaking life in our conversations with others especially in our closing words.
The narration was really good as it sounded like she really cared about what she was reading and not just doing a job. She conveyed the text with a lot of passion and emotion.
This book is for anyone in a dark place where the end is not in sight or for people who have come out of a dark place and are wondering what it was all about.
This audio book was gifted as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. More information can be found about this and other Christian audio books at christianaudio.com.
- Beautiful and raw offering of hope
Nancy Ortberg bravely advances into some difficult territory in her new book, Seeing In The Dark. She is addressing the reality of the presence of God even in the areas of grief, disappointment, struggle, and pain. It is raw stuff for sure, but she approaches her subject with maturity and a poet’s command of language. Her whole point is that it’s through the “darkness” of pain and struggle that we most clearly see the glory of God’s “light.” She doesn’t strive to make her point intellectually as much as narratively and poetically. She tells stories and paints pictures with her words. She draws connections and offers hope in unexpected ways.
I can imagine this book being a balm of healing for someone who is grieving or questioning. Ortberg shares from her own experiences of pain and healing, and she doesn’t look away too quickly when she shares stories about the pain of others. My favorite story is that of the Huguenots during World War II, assisting the persecuted Jews so readily because of their own generations-long history of persecution. The Huguenots helped without hesitation because they were familiar with suffering. What a powerful visual of the shaping power of suffering! And there are plenty of other stories like it in this outstanding book.
Pam Ward does a great job narrating the audiobook version of this book. Highly recommended!
Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.
- The Reality of the Dark
This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café.
The dark night of the soul is one of my passion areas because of the way it can help us reframe priorities, grow, and strip away extraneous parts of our lives. Unfortunately, some books on the topic over-spiritualize a dark night too much and try to find answers where sometimes the point is not having an answer at all.
Nancy Ortberg's latest book, Seeking in the Dark: Finding God's Light in the Most Unexpected Places does not make the mistake of explaining away dark places. While she doesn't really talk about a "dark night," that's exactly the experience she describes. She poignantly notes the way tragedy can impact our lives without watering it down or explaining it away like so many Christian authors can do. Rather, he emphasizes the need to let these experiences be as they are. The describes the pain and doesn't try to change it in any way. She acknowledges and accepts reality. And that's what allows us to move forward. As Ortberg says in quoting Dallas Willard, "God only meets us in one place, and that's reality."
She does acknowledge the challenges of the dark times, especially when they're in contrast to good times: “Living in between is hard work. It’s much simpler to make a choice, color it black or white, draw a line. But even though this living in between is more difficult, it’s better. Definitely better. What lies in between is nuance, richness, and meaning. It’s only in the in-between that we can live in color, with heartaches and joys combining hues.” There is more difficulty in living with complexity, but how much richer is life?
I find these times often help give great clarity to priorities and the meaning in life. When we over-spiritualize, theologize, minimize, or other-ize pain and darkness, the power behind them is often lost. I found Ortberg's work to be moving and reinforcing of where I should put my values and efforts.
Ortberg also does a nice job of connecting dark nights to later movement in improving the world. She states, "Stories are powerful, but stories from brokenness, stories that intersect with another’s pain–that, my friend, is life-changing stuff. This is gospel. Good news. Great news, really. It is the same power that puts us in the fight for justice, for serving the poor and the marginalized in the name of Jesus. It’s what keeps us, in the face of overwhelming odds, going the other direction, using hope as a shield for the fight against human trafficking, poverty, and inequitable access to health care, education, and work.”
We often try to avoid the pain, but it is usually because of our brokenness and pain that we are able to meet others where they are at and help bring hope to others in their darkness.
I listened to the audiobook version, which was well-done. The narrator spoke with enough inflection and passion that the book seemed to be her own (in contrast to many audiobooks that seem dry).
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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- Encouraging, but Disorganized
I recieved this book courtesy of Christian Audio for the purpose of writing a review.
Narrator Thoughts: While not an author read book, I thought that this author did a very good job of reading this book. Her voice is very pleasent. Like a happy grandmother reading a book to you.
Book Thoughts: Frist I want to say that I didn't finish this book. I listened to the first three chapters.
I thought that Nancy made some good points and was encouraging. As I continued to read the book I found myself agreeing with her on most points.
Still I felt like the book lacked good structure. I felt like she would begin a thought and then get sidetracked with another point. Like I said they were good points, but I felt like it wasn't organized well.
Overall I think that the style of the book was not one that speaks to me. I wasn't finidng it worth continuing, but maybe that was just me.
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