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God Will Provide

Patricia Treece, in God Will Provide, has written an engaging and thought provoking book dealing with God meeting the needs of his people. Much of the book is a careful description of various saints who God has showered his blessing on through their work with the poor and disenfranchised. Yet, the book is much more than just a catalogue of great deeds by humble Christians, it strikes at the heart of godly living by providing valuable lessons for issues like money, charity, gratitude, and dealing with negative thinking. Some readers might be aware of her other work, Meet John XXIII, which received a Catholic Press Award and many other accolades.

The first chapter deals with giving to God all your goodness, all your sin and ugliness so that you might allow God to lead instead of yourself in the driver's seat of life (7-12). She brings a wise word of encouragement for those dealing with their negative traits by saying, "Acknowledge but do not be lured into over-concentration on your negative traits. Insight into a fault that leads to self-condemnation is not of God. Recognition of faults that is rooted in God leads to real sorrow form them but concentration, with joy, on changing, not self-rejection" (12). This concept is a tough pill to swallow for many. The truth comes in knowing that we bring our negativities and sin before God because he cares and is able to forgive. Lastly, if we do over-concentrate on our negative traits then often we become paralyzed to the goodness of God and his work in our own life.

We get an example of radical forgiveness in the story of St. John Bosco. Because of his srong efforts at evangelizing the young, a man tried to assassinate Bosco. As Treece writes, "Bosco built a home for his would-be assassin, whose bullet had missed by inches. He did this because "we should do good to our enemies" (16). Surrendering pain, suffering, and grudges against someone who has wronged us not only rids us of emotional and spiritual harm, but gives an opportunity to see God at work in the worst of circumstances. Treece is right to point out at the end of the chapter that, "Forgiveness is an act of the will. Feelings may take a long time, even years, to fall into line" (18-19). Just because hard feelings remain for a person doesn't erase the necessity and power of forgiveness. Treece seems to point out that the road to forgiveness may be difficult but the rewards are of infinite value to both the believer and those around him.

The more I look through this book again, the value of seeing spiritual value in the practical things of life. In the chapter on financial discipline Treece notes an important point on the road of finances, she writes, "Even though God loves you, If you willfully live in a way that invites financial disaster, don't expect God to save you from the consequences of your choices" (136). Treece goes onto relate a story of John Bosco being asked by the pope to build Sacred Heart Church in Rome and the mark it left on his aging body. The powerful reminder here is that charging up the credit card with no money in the bank only leads to heartache and certainly affects the outcome of more than just one person. Alongside this reminder is the push to be thankful for the things that God has already given you, such as your family, home, friends, and church. I think this point in Treece's book is all the more helpful in a culture that pushes for more stuff that causes more heartache and brokenness.

Overall, I thought his book was very good in displaying God's abundant blessing on those who open themselves up to divine providence. From dealing with negative thoughts to dealing with money, Treece managed to see God's goodness at work within the perspective of a healthy response to it. I was not familiar with many of the saints in this book but was encouraged by their faithfulness nonetheless.

One quick point of criticism I have for the book concerning the definition 'saint.' "...saints are people who, having surrendered to God, have with divine help cleared out all deliberate sin and the majority of their failings" (9). Although I do think we have to wrestle vehemently with sin, I do not think a believer is able to clear out all deliberate sin and the majority of their failings, rather it is what we do with these sins and how we grow in godliness that is important. An honest reliance on the grace and mercy of God and a heart that is willing to be humbled are two of the hallmarks of the believer.

I think this book should have a wide reading and be of much help to believers going through various struggles, trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Much thanks to Paraclete Press for the review copy of this book.


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