I’ve learned that judging a book by its length is just as unfair as by its cover. Lucado’s “For the Tough Times” is one of those small gift books that at first glance seems light and fluffy, but actually contains more than you may have bargained for. It’s a quick, easy read that makes a perfect gift for a loved one undergoing a trial. That’s what the book is about: trials. Tough topics such as death, grief, pain, revenge are handled and given the proper solutions: faith, silence, intercession, forgiveness, knowledge that God remains on His throne, and in His infinite wisdom, he turns tragedy into triumph, meaning to provide you with good out of a difficult trial. (See Gen 50:20. Also Romans 8:28 “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.”)
From chapters dealing with how our Lord Jesus loves each of us as a parent, and has control over every aspect of our lives, Lucado then delves into how God uses trials (and even Satan) for His ultimate good: to refine the faithful, to awaken the faith of “sleeping” Christians, and to teach the church.
He also tackles the fruitlessness of revenge and how peace can only come from treating others as you would want God to treat you: with generosity, with forgiveness, with love.
He then recommends silence in order to hear God’s voice. No peace can be had without being still and knowing that He is God. (Ps. 46:10) And then he encourages us to intercede for others’ trials and pains. Finally the book deals with grief and death: and how for Christians, there is no hopeless goodbye, just hope-filled eternal life in the presence of God.
The book ends with a prayer for troubled times which summarizes the contents by recalling how God has turned grieving into dancing all throughout the Bible, and which pleads for the Lord’s mercy and grace in every painful situation.
In the end, the book is encouraging and universally appealing to Christians of all kinds. This is a wonderful gift book, even during good times, which reminds us that God is in control.