Another book review today! Normally I review fiction or cookbooks on my blog, but I recently requested a different sort of book for review: a daily devotional. When I saw it available at the end of last year, I thought it would be a great book to start the new year off with. And I was right! Timothy Willard’s Longing for More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life is a great book that I highly recommend. Thanks to the blogger review program for Bethany House Publishers for the chance to read and review it!
Catch your breath and sit for a moment. Now listen . . .
What do you hear–questions of trust, longing, disappointment, courage, and love? In Longing for More, Timothy Willard invites us to think and pray through our deepest needs, and explores how the ebb and flow of life can be used for God’s glory. Creatively organized in 52 chapters that follow the four seasons of the year, the daily readings point the way to a richer spiritual life.
As usual, my five point review:
- I’m a librarian, so I know you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover. But you know what? I do. All the time. Sometimes this is good, other times it might not be. This cover is just phenomenal. It’s welcoming, inviting, relaxing… and I just want to sit with this book and read it all day thanks to the fabulous cover art. The print book itself also feels good in my hands. The cover is substantial and the pages don’t feel brittle. I know that’s just a minor thing, but if this is supposed to be a daily devotional, to turn to day after day, it’s gotta stand up to that. And this book does. Bravo!
- Enough about the aesthetics. The content of the book is just as fabulous as its appearance. [Spoiler alert: I didn’t read the entire book… a year hasn’t gone by, silly!] That being said, the book is set up to be read 5 days a week for a year. The book was originally written as emails to a group of fellows within a social justice program, presumably the author’s friends or at least acquaintances. So it has a feeling of warmth and familiarity which I loved. It’s meant to “reflect the rhythms of daily life, but also point to the heavens, to God.” This is demonstrated in many ways, not least of which is the fact that the third daily reading is just a prayer–because by this point in the week that is what the author needs most. Good call. You can begin this book at any time of the year, but it is structured to align loosely with the church calendar, so a January start is good but not essential. This book isn’t meant to be your one and only devotional either, it is meant to supplement deeper Bible reading so I could see it being good to use at a different time of day than your normal devotions.
- Willard does a great job blending Biblical truth with his own life experience, as well as quotes from Christian thinkers throughout history [mainly C.S. Lewis and Søren Kierkegaard]. I appreciate that there wasn’t tons of fluff in the entries I read, and though the entries are deep, they aren’t so theologically heavy that they require a dictionary and reference books to understand. It’s a great balance.
- Willard is also a very poetic writer. These devotions should be savored and pondered throughout the day, each accompanies a daily passage of scripture and they blend well together. The scripture is definitely prioritized but the devotion isn’t an outright Bible study either.
- The general tone of these devotions is encouraging. Though Willard challenges his readers to more closely follow the Lord and acknowledges the challenges of life and realities of suffering, the tone of encouragement is awesome. He does a great job focusing on heaven while on earth. I highly recommend this devotion and would read more of his work!
What are you reading lately?
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book!