Joanne Teo - June 2020
If like me, you enjoy making “plans” for your life (and then have multiple back-up plans for your plans and then draw a flowchart just in case… you get the drift) because you hope to (or think you could) minimise the amount of pain, suffering and disappointments that might potentially-probably brush passed the periphery of your life – this Christ-centred, hope filled book is for you.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
Proverbs 31:25 ESV
The author’s reflections begin from the time she was diagnosed with a degenerative hearing disease at fifteen when all she could envision “was the painful reality that things were only going to get worse”. The vision of the women who could laugh at the days to come despite life’s trials, disappointments and grief, was a stark contrast to her own vision of her life would be if God did not answer her prayers to restore her hearing.
The author candidly shares her fears (all past, present and future) openly with her readers, while also wrestling together with the reader to be “governed by a right and prevailing conviction of who God has revealed Himself to be in His word”. Although much of the experience the author shares on one level relatable for the reader as they follow her reflections of her own trials and those around her. It is both the strength and weakness of this book that those experiences would probably be more relatable for women (for example being a mother of two boys) than for men. Nonetheless, what I really enjoyed about this book was that it was not just another book on the existential or moral topic of suffering and pain; or more self-help steps to help us simply cope with the endless anxieties, cares and uncertainties that the future could bring. Rather, the author has put much effort in her writing to show us how the truths of the gospel – about our suffering, God’s sovereignty, Christ’s example, the Spirit’s provision, prayers, church, and heaven – are not just abstract or subjective ideas the readers need to know individually but also experience as well, here and now, with our brothers and sisters in Christ as a community, especially when we are most tempted to withdraw. Moreover, the author is able to gently challenge our prevailing mindset about pain and suffering with scripture while still being able to put them into simple relatable terms that draw out the reality of the hope of the gospel has to offer now and will be proven true when Christ returns.
This is both a challenging and easy book to read at 192 pages. If you’ve enjoyed books like
Joni by Joni Eareckson or A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis with a side of How Long, O Lord
(by D. A. Carson) – do grab hold of this.
This book is available as eBook, hardcopy and audiobook.
You can watch some brief interviews with the author here:
VIDEO: Should you read laughing at the days to come?
VIDEO: Laughing at the days to come