Pros: Well written, Easy to understand, Practical guide
Cons: Written totally from a Christian perspective
Adversity in life is unavoidable, but the way in which we handle life's challenges, determines whether we will emerge vanquished or victorious. This is the basic premise of Reverend Charles Stanley's inspirational book, How To Handle Adversity. Reverend Stanley is the Senior Pastor of the 12,000 member First Baptist Church in Atlanta, and host of the nationwide television and radio ministry, In Touch. He is also author of a number of inspirational books including How to Listen to God, and Winning the War Within.
This book features practical guidelines for dealing with such tragedies as the loss of job, divorce, serious illness, and the death of a love one, by viewing these experiences for God's perspective. Reverend Stanley includes practical examples from biblical characters such as Joseph's exile in Egypt, Job's persecution, and the Apostle Paul, whose attempts to help spread Christianity in the first century AD, was fraught with all manner of adversity. Reverend Stanley also uses example from his own life, and those of fellow Christians, to help explain the principles of the valuable lessons that can be learned from adversity.
This 191 page book is divided into 15 short chapters. It is well written, easy to read and understand, as Reverend Stanley interweaves excerpts from scripture into his narrative, to illustrate his principles for dealing with adversity. According to Reverend Stanley, adversity is one of the methods God uses to gain our attention to draw us closer to, and into a greater dependence on Him, as well as, to prepare us to comfort others during their times of adversity. It is his contention, that it is during times of adversity, that we are most teachable and able to learn, due to our tendency toward complacency during easier times.
In one of the more touching excerpts from the book, Reverend Stanley illustrates the concept of comforting others after having experienced adversity when he tells the story of a farmer who wanted to sell some puppies. A young boy came along wanting to buy the runt of the litter. The farmer knelt down by the boy and said "son you don't want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like the others would." The young boy bent down and rolled up the leg of his trouser, revealing the steel brace underneath, responding, "You see mister, I don't run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands."
In the final chapters, Reverend Stanley discusses three sources of adversity, God, Satan, and sin, and provides ten keys to advancing through adversity, as well as, steps for dealing with adversity caused by our own choices, and circumstances beyond our control. Reverend Stanley closes with the following encouraging words:
"If you are a child of God whose heart's desire is to see God glorified through you, adversity will not put you down for the count. There will be those initial moments of shock and confusion. But the man or woman who has God's perspective on this life and the life to come will always emerge victorious."
I have read quite a few inspirational books, and I found Reverend Stanley's straightforward writing style to be refreshingly frank, practical, compassionate, and biblically based. He is not afraid to reveal his own personal spiritual struggles, and willing to share from his own experience for the benefit of his readers. I recommend this book primarily to Christians who want to learn to deal more effectively with adversity. It is written purely from a Christian perspective, and those looking for a secular "self-help" book may have a difficult time relating to some of Reverend Stanley's concepts.