Monday, May 3, 2010
Book Review: Plan B
There is no doubt that the first chapter entitled “One Reality” is in fact a reality. Pain and suffering is a reality in the life of every living human being, including those who are believers. The church and especially individual believers need to be taught biblically how to suffer. There is no doubt that the Scripture teaches us that we are called to suffer and that we will.
It is extremely important that we are taught that we will suffer how to suffer to the glory of God, and why we suffer. Whether it is illness, death, terrifying diagnosis, disillusioning church experience, or a financial reversal, we need biblical information on how to suffer well.
Plan B sadly disappointed me as a reader and a child of God. Plan B promised answers and it did not supply the answers believers needed to hear. I think it is because the underlying theological foundation was improperly laid.
There is no plan B with God. Everything from eternity in the life of a believer is Plan A. God shows up in a believer’s life exactly as it pleases Him as He fulfills the sovereign purpose that He has determined from eternity past.
Plan B disappointed because it approached this topic from an ego-centric and humanistic point of orientation – “What do you do when God doesn’t show up for you in the way you thought god was going to show up?” That’s the problem! Is it that we want to be sovereign over God rather than God sovereign over us?
Plan B is filled with real life and painful illustrations of hurt, frustration, betrayal that is very real. When Wilson had the opportunity to point the reader to the answer, he said, “Because, to tell the truth, I need the answers as desperately as you do.”
Plan B is disappointing because it did not take the opportunity to take a suffer’s focus off of themselves and their pain and re-focus it on Jesus Christ. Wilson says on page 8 in response to Kelly’s question of “Why?” when her baby had been stillborn, “I didn’t know what to say, and so I didn’t say anything.” Why not point her to a loving, wise, tender, God by pointing out, that there might not be a specific answer that we human beings want, but that in God’s grace He uses moments and events like these to reveal Himself and all of His splendid glory?
Plan B is disappointing because time after time the focus seems to be on individuals and the fact that life isn’t turning out the way they wanted it to. However, we are not in nor are we to be in the driver's seat.
Plan B starts toward the proper finishing line in chapter 12 when Wilson discusses “The Glory Plan” in Waiting on God. There he moves away from the answer and comes back with questions.
I thought Wilson was onto something in the last chapter called “The Bow.” He was pointing to how a sovereign God could “break the silence” and minister to Him in a most shocking manner. Then he did it again, he took the focus away from the possibility that a sovereign God worked every little detail out to bring him to proper focus.
Sadly, as he wraps up his book he states he doesn’t have a bow to tie it all together very nicely. This is why I was disappointed and would not recommend this book to others; he says he didn’t have “a bow.” Then Wilson states there is no bow in Christianity other than the cross. That is absolutely true and I applaud him for that.
I also applaud him and think he made great contribution when he said he and nor can anyone answer the very specific why question about our suffering, the “why me?” Wilson states that when it comes to plan b questions he is left with no answer.
The redeeming portion of this book is found all the way on page 218 of this 226 page book. Wilson states, “Instead of an answer, God offers us something better. He offers us a solution. He offers us the cross.”
What makes Plan B disappointing is that Wilson never torpedoes or steers his readers away from the concept of Plan B. He never takes them higher and shows them that first, God owes us nothing and is debtor to no man. God doesn’t owe us an explanation nor does he owe us a life that is problem or suffering free. That is an invention of “Christian-lite.” Second, he doesn’t show how God uses pain, suffering, and even sin for His glory and purposes.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Thomas Nelson. All of the opinions expressed in this post are my own, and I was not compensated for this review in any other way.
Posted by Gregg Metcalf at 1:00 AM