Dr. Larry Crabb is a respected Christian counselor, psychologist and published author. His book Shattered Dreams comes from the pain he himself has experienced and that of friends and acquaintances who have been through deep disappointments and hurts in life. Who hasn’t questioned God, pulled away from him, or blamed him with life has knocked us to our knees?
He frames this non-fiction book with the story of Naomi in the book of Ruth. She has lost her husband and two sons and apparently all hope as she tells her friends and acquaintances to “call me Mara,” which means bitter. Crabb believes we can learn much from her story. Much of the pain we experience is because we are pinning our hopes on the wrong things and expecting heaven here on earth.
At times his words carry a sting as he puts us in touch with our own self-focused existence. At the heart of what he is saying is the belief that if we learn to embrace the dark times and seek God, we will encounter him in a much deeper way. Most of us don’t because we only focus on the happiness we think we are entitled to.
I had mixed feelings about this book. At times I felt that Crabb was trying to explain away his own times of being shaken by things he has been through. (He wrote this just after having been treated for cancer.) But at other times I felt that he was speaking the truth we needed to hear and he did so without cushioning it. I highlighted many sections, and I rarely do that. The message is so powerful that I have already shared it with others.
I highly recommend this book and give it four out of five stars. I would have given it an even higher rating but feel that at times he repeated the same message and truths too frequently when he could have moved on.