Where Was God When_____?How Could God Allow_____? Why?
Many of us have been there; facing a situation that looks insurmountable. Usually you’re advised to keep the faith and be grateful, the same widely used phrases that don't provide much context or comfort. So when I first came across Unreasonable Hope, I was curious about how this could possibly be different.
I sat down one Sunday last year and watched as this tall, long-legged American pastor jumped on stage and showed us a video of him doing the ice bucket challenge. I knew this guy was eccentric - loud and booming voice, with a growing church in LA and high-profile friends who I’d seen on Instagram. The cynic in me wondered whether this would be just another motivational speech without much relevance to real life.
Other people share this cynicism. They see the ‘positive vibes’, the ‘rock music’ that flows out of churches like mine and wonder how ‘happy clappy’ churches have a proper grip on reality. I’ll admit that those thoughts once danced around my mind, but by the end of Chad Veach’s sermon I realised that each and everyone one of us - leaders and congregation alike - have our fair share of battles. And there is a way to live through them, to not only survive, but thrive and enjoy life in all of it’s beauty, opportunity and fullness.
On that Sunday, and in his book Unreasonable Hope, Chad Veach speaks about his daughter Georgia, who was born with lissencephaly also known as ‘smooth brain’. Lissencephaly is a disorder that significantly stunts a child’s life expectancy and their ability to develop basic functions. This means that she is wheelchair-bound, struggles to eat her own food and can have up to 50 seizures a day. As you might imagine, this significantly changed how Chad and his wife Julia expected to have with their first born child.
What is interesting is that before Georgia was born, he prayed and believed that she would have an unforgettable impact on the world. And she has had an incredible impact on the world even though she’s a toddler, it's just in a way that her parents would have never expected. Georgia has garnered support and prayer from thousands of people through the #prayforGeorgia movement, even to the extent that people like Chad himself to people like Justin Bieberhave tattooed a ‘G’ on their bodies as a sign of solidarity.
Unreasonable Hope is brilliant because it's real.
Even though I personally wasn’t going through the storm when I picked up this book a couple of weeks ago, Unreasonable Hope is still completely relevant. It’s all about readjusting where your hope, reliance and perspectives in life. It's not about just blind hope. He's real about their pain, their fears, their frustrations. He's real about times when he didn't have true empathy for other people in tough situations, because prior to that his life had been pretty smooth sailing. He's real about the fact that he and his wife would see other happy healthy kids and feel pain about Georgia's situation.
But Chad is also real about the stories and themes in the bible that show us that life was never meant to be easy. He's practical about keeping perspective, about using your negative experiences as a way to help someone else going through a tough time. He's practical about surrounding yourself with the right people around you encouraging, supporting and speaking life into your situation.It's not a “how to be ridiculous happy in the midst of ridiculous pain” type of book, it's about embracing life fully in all its peaks and troughs. As he says, the struggle is real.
But so is God.
I admire the fact that someone like him, who could be tempted to make the book nothing more than a list of ‘think happy thoughts', accepts the reality of his situation but also shows that even in the midst of ridiculous pain, there is still hope.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13
My main lightbulb moment over the week that I read Unreasonable Hope was this:
We're taught to be so solution oriented, but it's not about expecting God to magically remove suffering, but relying on Him for strength to walk through it.
Unreasonable Hope is an accessible, simple and at times, funny way to find out how we too can navigate life's highs and lows. Definitely worth the read.
Have you read Unreasonable Hope - or are you planning to read it? Let me know in the comments below, speak to you soon!