Sunday, April 3, 2016

Review: It Hurts So Bad, Lord: What to Do When the Pain is Almost More than You Can Bear by Andrew D. Lester

Synopsis: Everything is going well…you think. And suddenly it seems as if the sky really is going to fall. Everything seems to happen at once you feel that Job had nothing on you. And you pray, through the tears or clenched teeth or both, It Hurts So Bad, Lord! Dr. Andrew D. Lester doesn’t claim to have all the answers but he does give comfort, presence, and stability for the worst times of your life – when you feel as if the world is caving in on you. (from the back of the book)

Review: The majority of this book deals with death – before and after, for those facing the death of a loved one – or their own. However, the first two chapters are about depression. There is lots of talk in the Christian community about how to handle mental health. Given the common rhetoric that the church has often sidelined, condemned, or ignored those with mental illnesses, I was glad to see none of that in this work. Lester clearly and openly states that depression is an illness, that there are things the person can do to help, but that professional help is always a good idea, and that depression in no way reflects a lack of faith in God.
Lester makes many good points. My favorite was what he said about anger, “All this is to say that when you feel anger within you, it does not mean that you have sinned. It does mean that the possibility for sin is present. That can happen if the anger goes unrecognized or unresolved and becomes an infection in our relationships or becomes destructive and hurtful to other people.” (p25). He recommends that when you get angry, you step back and ask yourself why – bruised ego, true injustice, selfishness, or betrayal. This sounds like good advice, but it requires more honesty with self than most people are capable of.  Still, it is good advice, if one can manage it.
Having said all that, the book is dated. It makes reference to “truths” about society that are no longer true – namely that we encourage suppression of anger (we don’t) and that we encourage personality responsibility (we most certainly do not).
The other noteworthy aspect is his stance on divorce. He teaches that divorce is acceptable in many different situations. Some may not feel this way or believe this is Biblical. Read at our own risk. 

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-8054-5238-9
Year Published: 1976
Date Finished: 4-2-2016
Pages: 128

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