Hopeward: Gospel Grace for Weary Souls – Dai Hankey

Hopeward: Gospel Grace for Weary Souls by Dai Hankey
Published by Good Book Company on September 1, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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How Jesus can restore and sustain our joy, faith and service.

Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)

Author Dai Hankey is a church planter in Wales and founder of Red Community, a Christian charity that fights human trafficking in Wales. Speaking from a personal experience of burnout, he comes alongside weary Christians to explore what it looks like in practice to really lean on Jesus and enjoy his rest.

This positive and encouraging book takes readers on a hopeward journey with Jesus from despondency to joy. They will discover how Jesus can restore and sustain them, and they will be re-energized to carry on serving him in a joyful and manageable way.

This is a great book to give Christians who feel weary, overwhelmed, stressed, or discouraged, or Christians who feel like stepping back from the things they are involved in at church.

Pastor Dai Hankey shares spiritual reflections and personal stories in this book, encouraging Christians who feel weary and are struggling to endure. He writes about his experience with ministry burnout and spiritual exhaustion, and he reflects on the rest and hope that Jesus provides. Hankey writes about how important it is to seek Jesus instead of trying to do things on your own strength, and each chapter explores a different theme related to spiritual growth. The chapters are short and easy to process, and they include example prayers and reflection questions as well.

However, even though this book offers wonderful encouragement from the gospel, the author only deals with spiritual matters. This book would be much stronger if Hankey had cast a broader look at burnout, addressing other causes and solutions. We need Jesus, and that is the most important thing, but we also need to drink enough water, get enough sleep, process griefs and traumas, and not drive ourselves into the ground with too many commitments.

Some people have deeply healthy spiritual lives while also feeling worn down by their circumstances, and this book’s emphasis can unintentionally lead someone to think that if they’re still struggling, then they must not have enough faith. Hankey never suggests that trusting in Jesus will make your problems go away, and he encourages people to seek counseling if necessary, but the sole focus on faith issues here will prevent the book from being as helpful to as many people as it could be.

Hopeward: Gospel Grace for Weary Souls is a helpful guide to cultivating your spiritual life in the midst of stress and discouragement. The writing style is very conversational, and this book will appeal to people who are looking for a quick read with deep spiritual encouragement. Even though I wish that the author had addressed more facets of burnout, this will be helpful for many Christians, and it is a solid choice for both personal reading and church discussion groups.