Published by Thomas Nelson on September 15, 2020
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Devotional
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Friend, do you ever find yourself convinced that no one cares? That no one can help you, hear you, or heed your call? If so, I have an encouraging word: you are not alone.
I don’t mean you aren’t alone in feeling alone. I mean you are not alone, period. That raw, dark sense of isolation and powerlessness? It’s not here to stay. God’s presence and power is nearer than we think. We only have to look to the miracles of Jesus to know of this truth.
You and I long for Someone who will meet us in the midst of life’s messes. We long to believe in a living, loving, miracle-working God who won’t think twice about stepping into the thorny thickets of our world and lifting us out.
If this is your desire, I invite you to join me in taking a good look at the words of John and the miracles of Christ and see if they don’t achieve your deepest needs: “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
There’s something comforting and familiar about a Max Lucado book. I’ve read enough that I can hear his voice and intonation in the pages. He has his distinct style down to absolute perfection. You know what you’re getting with Max, and that consistency is what has led to every single one of his books being instant bestsellers. Max (notice I’ve just been using his first name?) isn’t just an author or pastor, he’s a friend.
You Are Never Alone is about trusting in the miracle of God’s presence and power. About abiding in God’s presence through His Spirit. You’ll listen (I think listen is the appropriate word, given Max’s style, even though you’re reading the written page) to Max as he walks through Scripture and personal anecdotes. His words of exhortation ring with empathy and pathos as he encourages readers to find rest in Christ.
But my main takeaway from You Are Never Alone wasn’t any of these things. Not something that you’d find explicitly within the book’s twelve chapters (perfect for individual or small group study). My main takeaway: You can find God’s presence in His people. This book, like many of Max Lucado’s books, is written in the style of conversation. This could be you and Max sitting on a couple of chairs, just spending the evening together. And to know that Max had been where I was—alone—and that he had all these stories to share of those who felt alone was a comforting reminder that, well, In Christ, we’re all alone together.
None of the Scripture that Max teaches through is revolutionary or unexpected, but it’s comforting. And there’s a value in speaking stories to one another, even ones we already know. It helps us engage in solidarity. Now we know that other people know these stories and rely on them as well. Max’s words seem personal (because they are) but he sells a million books because ten million people identify with them. In reminding ourselves of the vertical connection of God’s presence, Max connects us with millions of Christ-followers in the horizontal as well.
I think this aspect of You Are Never Alone—and at this point, I’ve clearly gone from book review to introspective essay—stuck out me because of amount of loneliness and division the world has endured these past few months. I’m writing this review in late June and, as an entire world, we’ve gone through months of lockdown, followed by protests against police brutality. We’ve seen isolation and division. We’ve felt disillusioned and disconnected. We’ve struggled to connect with our spiritual and social groups and, in many groups, found those groups deeply divided. It’s been a troubling time.
You Are Never Alone won’t fix those problems. Some might criticize this book as too simple, too easy, too naïve for a world that suddenly seems so irascibly complicated. I don’t think so. This is just what we need. A reminder that we aren’t alone. You Are Never Alone is a comforting message from a familiar voice amid turbulent times. Once again, God (through Max) has given us exactly what we need.