"How do you hope when you don't get the ending you asked for?" is the question that Katie Davis Majors asks in her new book Daring to Hope: Finding God's Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful. As difficult as that question is to ask, it is even more so when one is going through the struggles and the trials and the difficulties that lead to brokenness. Often we find ourselves, like the author, wondering, "Is God really good? Does He really love us?"
She begins Daring to Hope as a young woman who was filled not with hope so much as "naive optimism." As she writes, "If you had asked me then how the Lord might most deepen my relationship with Him, I would have had all kinds of answers." One of those she honestly writes is, I was going to be the answer." How many of us during our spiritual walk start out in exactly this same place? We are untested and unquestioning. We are filled with more hallelujahs than laments, more mountaintops than valleys. As the author writes, "I did not know the pain that awaited me on the other side of the ocean, on the other side of humility, where I would recognize just how little I had to offer."
This is not an easy or comfortable place to be, but it is exactly where God needs us to be so that we realize just how much we really and truly need and rely on Him. In the midst of pain and grief and loss, is the place where we will experience true comfort and understand that we are not abandoned, that Jesus is near. I love how Majors expresses this, "Over the years, my packaged faith of all the right and wrong answers have been enveloped in a personal touch of the living God. My grief was His grief and my joy was His joy. In my darkness, I knew Him and He knew me. In the midst of pain I would not have chosen, He was real and undeniable and true. When life was not what I expected, where hope was not what I thought, He carved a space in my heart for Him."
This time of "carving" (a great visual image to consider as it involves a cutting away of all that is not necessary to make something beautiful) was a "year," she writes, "in which I wrestled to find hope and recognize signs of God's goodness and beauty amid the brokenness."
Daring to Hope is a work of spiritual maturity. It is Katie's dark night of the soul in which she, like all of us, has to learn what trust really requires and that hope is not circumstantial. It is that period where she had to discover the reality of God saying, "I will be enough." We embrace such a statement when we are in a fertile land of ease and comfort, but when we enter a dry and weary land, we find ourselves, like the Psalmist, crying out, "Where are You? Why have You abandoned me?" Katie writes of this period in terms of sunflowers. "The sunflower harvest is a simple but profound reminder... Maybe the greatest joy isn't just in beholding the flowers but in the process. I think over the past years and all the dark and hard places. God has protected us from the pounding rain and the scorching sun, like baby green shoots clinging to Him for dear life. I think even of the pain and loss in each of my girls' stories that has grown in them such a capacity for kindness and generosity toward others and the way He is using even parts of their stories that I do not know to minister to the extras we find around our table." Her girls are the thirteen girls that Katie has adopted over the years.
Daring to Hope is a beautiful, honest and raw book. It is one that does not shy away from facing the adversities and trials in a way that is both true and, in the end, hopeful. It is one thing to proclaim, "God is faithful," but it's another to truly live that out and go through hard and unexpected places but still hold to that statement . It is to hear the whispering voice of a God who's near to the lowly, the mourning, the lonely, the hurting, the broken and says, "I love you, I go before you, and I never fail. I never fail." As she writes in the book, God tells her, "Come thirsty. Eat what is good. I alone will satisfy. Come broken. Come empty. Come wounded. And instead of a thornbush, I will grow a pine tree. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace, and I will make it beautiful for My own renown alone, for My glory, so the world might know Me."
This is what Katie's book does, she makes God known. She reveals the tenderness of a God who embraces and loves and whispers to us when we are weak, hurting and sorrowful. Katie writes about what it means to hold on to hope in the same way one holds on to a life-preserver in the midst of pounding waves.
Daring to Hope is heart-wrenching and inspiring. A must-read for anyone who is struggling, hurting, going through a trial, feeling abandoned, lost and broken. It is for those who have come out of such times or for those who have not yet even begun to go through them. This is a book that shows us all what it means to trust and know the God who will always provide, who will always be enough, who will always be present, and who will always be praised.
Katie Majors' official website:
Amazima Ministry's official website: