Annie F. Downs: Interpreting the Kindness of God When Life Is Unkind
Annie Downs was having conversations with her friends about interpreting correctly the kindness of God when circumstances seem to scream just the opposite. Remember God is Downs’ ongoing theme and one that will inspire, encourage, and equip fellow Christian sojourners to take a closer look at how they choose to unpack the significant life-altering events that may send them wrestling at God’s feet in making sense of pain and suffering. Downs writes that this book is a result of, “The conversations my friends and I were really having – that’s always what inspires my books. What is actually going on in my life and the lives of the people I love. I walked through such a unique season and wanted to wrestle down what was actually true about God. Figuring out whether He is actually kind felt like a journey that could (and did) change my life.”
Downs explores another equally essential element of Christ followers’ faith journey as she asks herself if she truly believes that God is writing the story of his children’s lives. Certainly, Christians must work through surrendering their fondest longings and desires at the feet of Christ as they trust Him to author their story for His glory and their good. Downs explains, “But honestly, do we really believe He is writing the story? That’s the question I’ve had to ask myself. If I really believe He is writing it, then all these chapters and all these moments and all these stories matter. They all come together, they all line up, they are connected in a way that will bring God glory and bring me joy. That is what I have seen in the last few years – when I really open my heart and eyes to believe that God is who He says He is and He can be trusted, He has shown Himself incredibly faithful.”
Readers will find Downs’ advice on learning to “want well” as the key to a healing balm for their desires. Rather than making the goal of one’s heart to cease wanting or longing, Christ followers must develop the keener ability to desire God’s ultimate best for their lives. Downs explains, “Everyone wants something. The trick isn’t to teach yourself to stop wanting. The thing we need to do, and to teach each other to do, is learn to want well. We will always want. We will always suffer. We will always be surprised by tragedy and surprised by love. It’s the nature of being a human. The more I have allowed all these things to exist in my life, versus closing my heart to one or the other, the more I have seen God’s kindness and felt Him near.”
In Remember God, the author revisits the Old Testament admonition from God to the Israelites to become good remembers. Downs too, explores this timeless lesson that fortifies believers in the throes of emotional, physical, relational, and you name it, “…pain” so that they can learn to lean in to God’s abiding and sustaining love. Downs helps readers understand how to choose remembering what God has accomplished on their behalf. Downs writes, “I have to choose it. That’s the real trick here, I think. In every relationship, we choose what we remember. And the same is true with God. And my rhythms are both personal and in community. Personally, it looks like journaling, prayer, and purposefully managing my thought life. Inviting my community in – sharing with them my worries and fears and joys – helps my words and experiences comes even more to life and bring hope.”
Annie F. Downs is a bestselling author, nationally known speaker, and podcast host based in Nashville, Tennessee. An author of multiple bestselling books including 100 Days to Brave, Looking for Lovely, and Let’s All Be Brave, Annie also loves traveling around the country speaking at conferences, churches, and events. Annie hosts the weekly popular That Sounds Fun Podcast and is a huge fan of bands with banjos, glitter, her community of friends, boiled peanuts, and soccer. Read more at anniefdowns.com and follow her @anniefdowns.
Michele Howe is a reviewer/author/columnist who has published over 3000 articles and reviews. Michele is also the author of 21 books including Navigating the Friendship Maze and Living Bravely