The Blessing Of Adversity (book review)

Barry C. Black has lived a full life, and that fullness has been poured into his timely book The Blessing Of Adversity: Finding your God-given purpose in life’s troubles.

A quick show of hands: how many of you have experienced trouble lately? How many of you are experiencing it right now? If you raised your hand in either category, this book could be quite helpful to you.

The Blessing Of Adversity is arranged into 23 chapters, but each chapter is broken down into several “mini chapters.” By that I mean that Chaplain Clark gives us several different ways of viewing the same topic of how to respond to adversity. He might tell you a personal story from his boyhood or his 23-year military career; or perhaps he’ll give you a modern-day example from his current ministry as chaplain to the U.S. Senate; or maybe a story from the pages of history; or a well-timed quote. Whatever his method, he always connects it with an encouraging word from the Bible to help the reader correctly process the times of adversity we all must pass through.

I found this book to be highly practical, and immediately applicable to my life. And for those of you who didn’t raise your hand earlier, there are a couple of chapters for you on how to prepare for the future adversity you are bound to face. This book would work very well as either an individual or small group Bible study.

I am a Tyndale book reviewer.

Disagreeing Agreeably

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on Apple or Spotify.

Why do disagreements have to become so, well, disagreeable?

Is it possible to disagree agreeably?

It’s not easy, but I think it’s possible.

When I was younger I couldn’t stand the idea of “losing” an argument: I always had to be right. I think I’ve matured a bit (at least, I hope I have), and I no longer feel the same way. So here are a few lessons I’ve learned:

(1) Remember the person I’m disagreeing with is my brother or sister. God has created both of us, so that makes us siblings.

(2) Always go for win-win. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too (Philippians 2:4).

(3) Choose your battles wisely. You can’t make everything an issue worth dying over. Thomas Jefferson wisely said, “In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current.”

(4) Redefine the “win.” What does it mean to win? Is it to put someone else in their place? That doesn’t seem very healthy. Perhaps a “win” is when values or principles are agreed to, although the way they are applied may be very different from person to person.

(5) Leave the baggage behind. Don’t bring previous hurts into a new situation. Don’t assume this new person will act like someone else from your past.

We’re all different people, so we’re going to have disagreements. The key: let’s find a way to disagree agreeably.

If you have other thoughts about how to disagree agreeably, I would love it if you would share them in the comments.

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