Book review – John Hindley, Dealing with Disappointment
Did you have a disappointing 2016? Well I do hope your 2017 is less so.
That’s not something people usually write in your Christmas card, but it’s pretty appropriate. We did actually get a card saying words to that effect, and I appreciated its realism. Our 2016 wasn’t bad at all, as years go, but it was peppered with disappointments, as is all of life if we’re being completely honest.
Let’s take parenting as an example. Being a parent is a wonderful blessing, for which I am truly thankful. However, I would be lying if I said there was nothing disappointing about it. The scope for disappointment is huge and varied. Perhaps you were disappointed with how difficult (or easy) it was to conceive, or with how you felt during pregnancy. Perhaps you wanted a natural birth and in reality that was impossible – or vice versa! It’s easy to be disappointed with how little sleep you get and how slowly things improve. You might feel disappointed with your child’s nursery (or at least the cost of it), or school, or their behaviour, or their interest in Jesus. There are countless other opportunities to be disappointed as a parent, and I haven’t even mentioned the major one, the thing that disappoints me most, which is my own sin. My selfishness, impatience, inconsistency, pride, self righteousness, unkindness and ingratitude. And the rest.
So, what can be done? Well, I was so pleased to read this book by John Hindley, in which he goes through reasons we are disappointed and when that is entirely appropriate as well as when it isn’t. As he writes, “you should be disappointed.” It’s inevitable in this fallen world. This book, as the title suggests, helps us deal with that disappointment in an appropriate way so that we can use it to focus all the more on Christ’s return.
The first part of the book discusses why we are disappointed, and how the gospel can change our attitudes. The second part is more practical, addressing different specific reasons for disappointment: our situations, our success, our ministry, ourselves, and God. I found all of it really helpful: it really is a breath of fresh air.
Here are three highlights for me:
I really appreciated the way Hindley writes about parenthood, and even specifically motherhood. I felt like he understands what it’s like. He must communicate well with his wife, I assume!
The style of the book is really simple, clear and direct. Hindley is succinct and challenging, which you really want when you’re short of time and looking for practical encouragement.
He emphasises the need for community , and how we are not meant to fight the Christian fight alone.
I hope that you will choose to read this book this year, because no matter how many times you are wished a “Happy New Year,” 2017 will not be free of disappointments. And that’s ok! I hope you have a joyful January.
You can spend your Christmas money on this fabulous book here at the Good Book Company.
P.S. Did you notice I wrote this whole review without making any jokes about the book “not being a disappointment” or any similar cringe-worthy statements! It took some self control, I can tell you. Well done me!