Top 5 Books That Helped Me Through The Past 5 Years
For reasons I’ve just recently written about, these past few months have been a very real time of reflection for me. With trial after trial finding it’s way to family and my own personal faith and health issues needing accounting for, the past 5 years have been anything but a walk in the park.
Looking back I see specific instances of time that had a direct impact on my coping with life’s circumstance. A huge portion of these times was spent with my nose in a book reading what what other people who were sharing similar, or worse, circumstances had to say on the topic of suffering — both in the physical and meta-physical sense.
This weeks Top 5 is a list of books that got me through some pretty dark times. I’ve listed them in the order I read them as one would always seem to prompt me toward the other:
Can Man Live Without God? -Ravi Zacharias
A fascinating read by an incredibly gifted thinker and author. Starting at the beginning with the basics, Ravi Zacharias communicates not just physical evidence suggesting a creation, but the physiological and philosophical need for one. Citing many difference sources that span writing from ancient to modern, the book is a cornucopia of logic and Christian apologetics.
I found this book on my mom’s book shelf shortly after being diagnoned with cancer. With the disalusionment I was involved with, I figured this book might help set my feet back on the right track. It did exactly that. In-fact, I attribute my current “Quest For Faith” to this book.
How to Live Between Office Visits – Bernie S. Siegel
Full of stories of personal encounters and sage advise, Bernie Siegel quite simply outlines a road map for living when you don’t feel like it. Though most of the true stories used in the book end on a sad note, they are encouraging non-the-less.
My mom brought me this book one day. I’m don’t recall where she got it from, but she gave it to me when I was about half way through my chemotherapy cycle. Though it certainly isn’t religions in any sense, it is still a very spiritual book in the way it communicated with me. I liked this book because it wasn’t weighted down with “pie in the sky” optimism. It is the telling of very stories from very real people who went through very real problems and how they were able to overcome mental anguish.
Disappointment with God – Philip Yancey
Philip Yancey has a talent for communicating perfectly what people don’t want to admit to themselves. In this book he touches on some very sensative topics and offers criticisms that some Christians may find offensive. Regardless, they are very real and often very personal, thoughts given to spiritual matters that more people should be talking about.
I found this book while roaming a Barnes and Nobel. To say that it was life changing would be an understatement. This book acted as a spring board for much of the idealology I hold now. I’ve read through it multiple times and I can say with certainty this book changed my life.
Where is God When It Hurts? – Philip Yancey
Another entry by Yancy, in many ways a continuation, or perhaps more appropriately, a companion, to Disappointment with God. It brings to light “the case for suffering” and why no one is exempt from this Earthly plight.
After being amazed at Disappointment with God, I needed to consume more of Mr. Yancy’s thoughts on the topic of suffering. This book was the next logical step and is well worth it’s time.
A Grief Observed – CS Lewis
Admittedly I haven’t read too much on the topic of grief, but I would have a hard time believing that any other book could so honestly, and personally communicate the thorough complexities of grief and times of mourning that appear shallow and worthless. This is more of a journal than a book — he recounts in specific details the emotions of losing his wife to cancer — containing at times what some might interpret as blasphemous claims against God.
I picked this book up on a whim — I hadn’t heard much about it before I read it, but once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down. The book is valuable, not so much as in one could really compare the grief of others against their own, but rather in the sense of putting life’s situations in their proper perspective.
I’m still reading books regarding the topics of faith, grief, and personal struggle. If there is a book and/or author that’s helped you get through a rough patch of life, I’d love to hear what/who they are.