Let’s make this easy: If you love the title, you’ll like the book. If not… well, there are still a few things you could learn from it.
The central point of this book by author and family therapist Ramon Presson is found, appropriately, in the center of the book: “It’s not wrong to ask why, but don’t stake your happiness or your faithfulness on getting a satisfactory answer. Throughout the Gospels Jesus shifts the question from why to what next.” Throughout this book Presson does the same. He doesn’t give any easy answers here. Instead, he attempts to move his readers past pain and disappointment to acceptance and contentment (which, he hastens to point out, is the polar opposite of complacency).
And to do that, he pushes us away from ourselves and toward God. A great observation early on: “How strange is it that when we ask God to bless us, what we want is simply more of what the world can give?”
To illustrate his points, Presson weaves the book of Philippians and its message of joy amidst suffering throughout his pages. As just one example: Paul certainly wanted to visit Rome, but certainly not as a prisoner. From our perspective, Paul would have had every reason to be despondent, and yet he “rejoices in his chains” and encourages the Philippians to rejoice as well.
Likewise, Presson pushes us to let go of our own expectations, and allow God to show us what He wants to do in our situations. By doing so, he argues, God can transform us no matter what we’re facing—not by denying or belittling our pain, but by finding joy and contentment despite and possibly even in the midst of it. In his own words, “It’s vital that we not waste our pain but recycle and redeem it.”
When Will My Life Not Suck? isn’t meant to solve your problems. It is, however, meant to help you discover a life beyond them.