cover image Blessed in the Darkness: How All Things Are Working for Your Good

Blessed in the Darkness: How All Things Are Working for Your Good

Joel Osteen. FaithWords, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4555-3432-6

Osteen, bestselling author and preacher at Lakewood Church in Houston, Tex., tackles the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people. Everyone experiences dark and depressing times—divorce, the death of a loved one, or financial troubles—but the pastor’s eternally optimistic perspective is that challenging times are opportunities to grow in faith and trust. Osteen sets the stage for delving into scripture by revealing his personal tribulations after the death of his father. His scriptural examples—such as Paul’s enigmatic “thorn in the flesh” struggle and three Hebrew teenagers who refused to bow to the King of Babylon—make his case for fortitude in faith. When Osteen veers toward a more paternalistic tone, things become troublesome: at one point Osteen asks whether those who are upset about their life situations are mature enough to accept God’s answers to life’s fundamental questions. Given the intense pain and suffering that some experience in this world, such a stance makes Osteen seem out of touch with reality. Despite this, Osteen’s grasp of Scripture is masterly, and many will take comfort in the stories of biblical figures who faced horrific circumstances and emerged renewed in faith. [em](Oct.) [/em]