Nobody is immune to disappointment. Unfortunately, at some point all of us will face that horrific moment when the bottom completely drops out of out of our life, leaving us broken, devastated, and desperately searching for God's grace. Pastor and theologian Robert Bugh has experienced unthinkable pain and disappointment firsthand, having lost both his wife and his best friend to cancer within a year and a half of each other. Though devastating, Bugh's tragedy also brought him into a stronger, deeper relationship with God. When the Bottom Drops Out chronicles Rob's journey from loss to restoration and shows readers how to find and hold tightly to Christ through even the most painful episodes of life. Bugh's story is proof positive that while pain and disappointment are an unavoidable part of life, God is nonetheless faithful, holding us close at all times and in all circumstances.
- When the Bottom Drops Out
I had high hopes for Robert Bugh's When the Bottom Drops Out, which explores the challenges to life and spirituality when we face the deepest pains. Bugh's personal experiences definitely lend credibility to his encouragement to find faith in the darkest of circumstances. Unfortunately, the book can be frequently disjointed, moving between anecdotes, theologizing, and references stories of pain in the Bible.
Bugh's books shone brightly when he validated the emotional pain involved when the bottom of life drops out. However, just when the recognition of the reality of the situation was becoming strong, Bugh would switch to abstract theologizing. This would turn the book into more of a cognitive intervention to an emotional problem that served more to invalidate than help encourage.
The book was not bad, it just seemed like Bugh was trying too hard to provide a profound theology and reflection on the pain of life.
This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café (jacobscafe.blogspot.com).
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.”
- Solid guidance on dealing with grief
In When The Bottom Drops Out, Robert Bugh teaches Christians how to think about and work through grief and serious disappointments.
One of the things that makes this book work so well is that it isn’t just theoretical knowledge about the topic but that what he teaches has been learned from his experience of his best friend and his wife dying. His reflections on these events are really moving. It also serves to demonstrate well why having good theology matters in practice.
What he shares of his personal story is complimented by extensive teaching from the bible about suffering. He shows how God is good and at work in the severe suffering of a number of biblical characters. He also addresses some misconceptions Christians have about suffering. I was particularly glad to read his arguments from the bible against prosperity gospel approaches to dealing with suffering as these are popular but can do immense harm.
Even if you are not suffering right now I think this is still a valuable book to read. It will help you have a good framework for when bad things happen in the future. It will also probably be helpful in learning how to be sensitive to those who suffer. He provides some hints based on what was helpful and unhelpful in his own experience.
The only critique I would make is that some of the retelling of the author’s story were a bit longer than they probably need to be, particularly towards the start of the book.
Overall, I thought it was a helpful and well written book that many will find quite helpful.
- Good narration
Bugh enters with a simple statement: everyone experiences disappointment. These may be different types, from red lights to the Cubs not winning. And then there are the major life events. Bugh, a pastor and theologian, discusses the importance of a theology on handling disappointment. How do we calculate G-d in death of a loved one, or major disasters? Bugh shares from personal experience, of losing his best friend, and his wife shortly thereafter (in addition to enhanced church stress).
Parks gives Bugh's text an authentic voice, permitting listeners to feel as though the author has come to speak at a Sunday church sermon. Read slightly mechanically, Parks' ability to give a natural pace outweighs the robotic reflective pauses.
+3 for important discussion
+2 for smooth narration
-1 for quick loss of interest
This book is honest and packed with helpful information for those who suffer from disappointment. Not the minor stuff, per se, but the larger than life events.
This book is for you...
This review published as part of the CA Reviewers program. Read this review, and others, at scriptedgenius.com
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- Great for Dealing with Grief, Disappointment
Robert Bugh hopes to prepare readers for tough times. When the Bottom Drops Out is the result of years of heartache and healing, shaped by suffering and crafted by the hand of a shepherd. Pastor Bugh lost his wife after a difficult fight with cancer.
When books that tell us we can have our best life now and that everyday can be a Friday are on the bestsellers lists, a book about the tough times seems like it has no audience. Until we realize that sooner or later the bottom will drop out for all of us. Life happens, and in the midst of it all we will come face to face with mortality and weakness. When that happens, what kind of God do we expect to see there?
Through his personal story, character studies of Joseph, Abraham, and Jeremiah, and a resolute committment to knowing and embracing the teaching of the Bible, Bugh presents us with a rock solid view of reality and God that will prepare us for times when the bottom drops out.
Superbly narrated, this audio book is a great help to those who are suffering. But if you can read it before the bottom drops out, you’ll be better prepared, have a better perspective, and be ready to find comfort in the God of the Bible during your greatest time of need.
I received this book free from christianaudio as part of their audio book review program. I was not obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are mine.
- not just for the suffering...
Thank you to to the christianaudio Reviewers Program for the opportunity to review this audio book.
When the Bottom Drops Out chronicles Pastor Rob Bugh’s journey from loss to restoration and shows readers how to find and hold tightly to Christ through even the most painful episodes of life. Bugh’s story is proof positive that while pain and disappointment are an unavoidable part of life, God is nonetheless faithful, holding us close at all times and in all circumstances.’
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. Philippians 1:29-30 (ESV)
As a biblical counselor, I encounter suffering in most of the discipleship opportunities that God brings into my life. Therefore, I am always on the lookout for good resources for disciplee’s and have used Suffering: Eternity makes a difference, How long O’Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Eternity, When God Weeps, and When…dies booklets. I have never had a resource however for those of us who encounter suffering regularly and how to console those who are. Pastor’ Bugh’s book is an excellent resource for this, especially the last three chapters. My favorites was the chapter on ‘Christian platitudes’ – what NOT to say to someone suffering, and of course the chapter on the scripture references.
This was a quite interesting book and the narrator did not take away from the resource at all. This audio did challenge, inspire, and enlighten me to be reminded not to give bible verse Band-Aids or to assume that I know the suffering that folks may be going through. This was a sobering reminder and one that I think many of us need to be reminded of. The author made me think before I assume anything. Pastor Bugh did a great job in holding my attention and I was deeply touched by the letter from his deceased wife to him (she passed away after 6-months with cancer) and caused me to to consider how thankful I was for my wife and the gift and kindness she is to me and how I have not told her that in a while. The topic of suffering was presented in a cohesive, yet appealing manner. I appreciated the references to the other authors like Piper and Alcorn that the author mentioned as well. I though the author did a great job in successfully conveying Biblical truth on the topic of suffering. I would recommend this work first to consolers and then to those that have lost a friend or a spouse. Thank you for reminding me of this text from the bible:
God of All Comfort
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
2 Corinthians 1:3-11 (ESV)