Finding Hope in Unexpected Places

How to See Things Differently

Lisa and I went for a drive the other day. I wasn’t on call, and the morning was sunny, clear, and brimming with hope. We needed to get out of the house, so we loaded our son’s dog Dude into the truck and hit the road.

We drove up Casper Mountain Road, through Beartrap Meadow and over the backside of the mountain. We came to a junction of two roads we’d driven before: we could go straight and up to Muddy Mountain, or turn right and wind through gorgeous countryside and back to Casper the long way around.

The third option was a little two-track road to our left. We had no idea where it went, but we both felt adventurous and we had time, so we turned left.

On the GPS, it looked like this road would eventually lead us back to civilization on the east side of Casper. Twelve miles of muddy, sometimes scary, low-4×4 terrain later, we still weren’t sure. But we came around a bend after going through a beautiful mountainous pass and were stopped in our tracks at the view.

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World (Thomas Nelson, 2012)

Love is not just a noun; it’s also a verb. Love does stuff. 

 

Bob Goff’s book puts hands and feet on a life of really loving and pursuing what’s important in relationships: with God, our families, and other people. Love Does will produce laughs, tears, and moments of the deep tug in your heart you feel when you know you’re being called to something higher in your life.  Love isn’t a feeling; it always does something. 

I was surprised at some of Goff’s spiritual insights. He sees angles in the Bible I’ve missed before about how Jesus loves people in practical ways. If you want to take a fresh look at how important it is to love people with more than just words, how to raise your kids with a sense of excitement about the adventures life holds, and what’s really important in relationships, I recommend this book highly. 

Chapter 11 is a devotional and life-lesson on God’s desire to have community with all of us, and it had the biggest impact on me. 

“When we accept life’s invitation, it’s contagious too. Other people will watch us and start seeing life as something more amazing, more whimsical than before. When you show up to the big life, people (the type who don’t think they’re invited) start seeing invitations everywhere as thick as colorful fall leaves. They don’t think about their pain or their weakness any longer. Instead, they think about how incredible a big life really is and how powerful the one who is throwing the banquet is too.”

Love Does will challenge you to want more from your life and your relationships, especially with God. 

I think the most powerful line is this one:

I’ve realized that I used to be afraid of failing at the things that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”         

 

 

 

Bob Goff is the founder of Love Does, a nonprofit organization that operates schools and pursues justice for children in conflict areas such as Uganda, Somalia, Iraq, and other countries. Bob is a lawyer and serves as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda to the United States. He is adjunct professor at Pepperdine Law School and Point Loma Nazarene University and lives in San Diego with his wife Maria, their kids, and extended family.

If you want to get smarter in 2017, you need to read more. Join Lisa and me in the 2017 Book-a-Week Challenge!

Violence of Action: Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War on Terror (Colorado Springs, CO: Blackside Concepts, 2014)

Marty Skovlund has given us the definitive history of the U.S. Army Ranger Regiment in the War on Terror. 

I give this book my highest recommendation. Our son-in-law, Bryce Dryden, is a medic in the Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia. He’s been to Afghanistan twice, and he shared this book with me. After reading it, I’m even more glad that our daughter Kimber married Bryce, because now I understand even more fully the type of man he is. 

Marty Skovlund’s book is inspiring, heartbreaking and powerful. It’s an account of the Ranger’s work in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001-2011. Chapter eleven is my favorite, and contains some of the best theology I’ve read (surprising in a ‘war’ book).

This book does what it promises: it chronicles the work of the U.S. army Rangers in the War on Terror. It doesn’t politicize, over-dramatize or romanticize. It’s full of heartbreaking stories, intense action, and utter despair. It’s at turns inspiring and unbelievable as we read of some of the things our men had to do to accomplish the mission and make it home. War isn’t easy, and neither is this book.

But Marty Skovlund has given us a treasure. Read it to learn of the extraordinary deeds done by these finest of America’s sons. Read it to remember the fallen, and to more deeply appreciate the living. And read it to be reminded, again, how thankful you should be that no matter the threat, there are people willing to step into the gap and take the fight to the enemy.

As Marty Skovlund reminds us, Rangers Lead the Way.