I read “Torn” by Jud Wilhite as part of the “Blogging for Books” review program meaning that I got a free copy of this book to read and then review. I hereby solemnly swear that my opinions on this book are all honest and my own.
I’m pretty sure they wish I had gotten around to this in a more timely manner, but the book arrived right after we moved and things were busy and I was dragging my feet. It also took me a long time after reading the book to get around to writing this review. Honestly, the only part of this process that I was not slow about was reading the book. Another hint about how I felt about the book is that I thought about loaning it to a friend and then decided I’d just recommend it instead because this is a book that I will read again.
I chose this book to read because of the title and subtitle: “Torn. Trusting God When Life Leaves You in Pieces.” The last two years of my life have been hard in a way that cannot be understood by most people, hard in a secret, dark, mostly unspoken kind of way, hard in a way that makes you think there will never be another way, hard in a way that leaves you clinging to the roots of your faith and wondering how much longer those can hold kind of hard.
The question that I’ve struggled with the most is WHY. WHY? WHY? WHY? Why did she have to be hurt like this? Why does my family have to absorb this shock and hurt into our lives? Why can’t I be what she needs me to be? Why did you allow this to happen to her? Why did you allow it happen to me? Why do I have to watch this take over our lives? Why didn’t you answer our prayers to protect her heart from her tragedies? Why didn’t you answer our prayers, cries, and pleas that started from the first moment we met her and could see her pain? Why didn’t you fix it? Why not then or hey, why not now? WHY?!
I won’t say that I’m fully finished asking why. It is a huge stumbling block to me, but this book helped me. The first part of the book moves us to asking the right question and then answering it. Wilhite says, “Think about it. Does why bring healing? Does why bring closure? Rarely. Why keeps you in the past and blocks you from moving forward. Why keeps you stuck in the pain and chokes out the potential to heal. This is the reason that the better question-the question Christians should move into sooner rather than later-is who? Who is in charge? Who’s in control? Who has all things in his hand? Who will make all things right? Who is restoring all things?”
And as Christians, we know the answer to who? Who do I trust? God. I stop myself when I find my mind muttering why? I reframe the question, why do we have to live with this pain? into Who is holding us up through this pain? And my answer changes from the unanswerable or at best unsatisfying facts about children and early childhood trauma into the truth that God is our Creator, Redeemer, and Refuge. Not why, but who? As he says later in the book, “The sovereign God of the cross is the sovereign God of the resurrection.”
The second part of the book discusses how to live (and help others live) while they are torn. He talks about living in community and being able to share our suffering (which I hugely believe in), challenging our assumptions about suffering such as God working like a cause and effect slot machine. He also talks about waiting on God and fighting for joy in the midst of depression. The bit about fighting for joy is good as well and it’s so applicable to mothers too, not just for depression, but the slogging, nerve-wracking mania that is caring for small children day in and day out. It’s easy to let our minds go and unchecked my mind tends to wander toward trouble…. He finishes up with forgiveness. Don’t skip that chapter.
I would and do recommend “Torn” by Jud Wilhite pretty broadly to anyone to read if you have ever struggled or have ever known someone who has struggled. It’s going to be the most impactful if you are currently struggling, but there really is a wealth of wisdom, hope for healing, and God contained in one easy to read little book. This is one to keep, re-read, underline, and
share with buy for a friend…maybe I’ll buy my friend her own copy.
Give it a read and let me know what you think. Do you have a book that is a good anchor, comfort, and map for you in the midst of suffering?