This book is gentle, encouraging, and a pleasure to read. What strikes me is the steadfastly persuasive way in which the author overcomes trials and tribulations; pain and suffering. Backed by more than 27 years as a military chaplain, and the current chaplain of the US Senate, Black serves up dish after dish of encouragement. Using brilliant stories to illustrate his points, Black's style is like a devotional. It is also inviting, not forceful. Firm and not fiery. The thrust of the book is easy to follow. This book is not about positive thinking. It is about keeping our focus on God despite the negativity. The Blessing of Adversity does not mean constantly needing to stay positive in a journey peppered with one adversity after another. Far from that. It prepares one for adversity. It equips one before adversity. It encourages one during adversity. There are three key audiences Black wants to address. The first audience is for those currently going through adversity. He helps them to see hopeful possibilities in the midst of impossible hopeless situations. For example, he says that there are benefits when one learns from suffering and brokenness. Similarly, suffering should not be 'wasted.' Secondly, he writes to those yet to encounter adversity. By 'Avoiding the Sources of Trouble' one can avoid piling unneccesary hot coals upon one's own head. Thirdly, he addresses to those who are able to turn things around, to turn adversity into advantage. This last part is possible when one learns to 'supersize' one's faith and to build a 'storm-proofed' life. My Comments I appreciate the way Black harnesses his own life struggles to illustrate faith, hope and lessons for the purpose of teaching others to endure and to learn from adversity. This reflects an authenticity that modern readers deeply appreciate. He supports his points strongly with his wide repertoire of Old and New Testament examples from the Bible. He points a way out for those who seems lost and discouraged. I like the structure of this book. Beginning with a big idea, the author explains the reason for the need to cling on to God. At the end of every chapter, he summarizes his main points with a 'action plan.' The chapters are short, and easy enough for anyone to finish a chapter in between meetings in the office, during lunch breaks, or pockets of spare time throughout the day. If adversity is your struggle right now, along with the Bible, the Blessing of Adversity can accompany your daily bread. conrade Disclaimer: Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. This review is freely offered without any obligation to give a positive reply.
I only caught the last 1/2 hour of the interview with Barry Black (5:30 -6pm) today. I was so very inspired, uplifted and humbled all at the same time. His life illustrations were both heart breaking and uplifting at the same time. I was thankful that I had the last 10 minutes in a parking lot, waiting to pick my daughter up from the library. I was in tears. The segment showed me how I could encourage my husband, who has gone through so much adversity. I have always known that God would use my husband, I am praying now that God will help/show him to use his pain and adversity to help others. He is so very private -- no one would have any idea at all of what he's gone through. I know that people would be blessed by it. He has a gift. This show was one of the best shows I have listened to for a long time. I am definitely going to get the book. I can't tell you how it blesses me to know that Reverend Black is in our Senate Building, praying for our leaders. The illustration of Joseph and the king who forgot the dream, it was funny but so true. He spoke also of the need for revelational, spirit-filled leaders in the US. I could not agree more. I have been grieved to my very soul of the horrible politics of Christians (both Dems and Repubs) who speak as men, but think they are speaking for God. Rev. Black was also so non- judgemental(unlike my last statement). I loved the way he spoke -- elegant but definitely not pontificating, or cheesy. I think he was just being himself and not "THE CHAPLAIN"of the US Senate." In fact, I was half way through the show, when during a break you re-introduced him. I was shocked. I had been wondering, "Who is this speaking?" I never would have thought it was the Senate Chaplain. I now can add Rev. Black to my prayer list -- that God expand him. I believe he has a word. Sherri from Maryland