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Lord Willing?: Wrestling with God's Role in My Child's Death

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Does God's perfect plan really include this?

When her young son was diagnosed with brain cancer, Jessica Kelley couldn't stomach Christian clichés. God's will? Divine design? The Lord's perfect plan? In Lord Willing?, Kelley boldly tackles one of the most difficult questions of the Christian life: if God is all-powerful and all-loving, why do we suffer? For Kelley, this q
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by Herald Press
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Natacha Ramos
Mar 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Honestly, this is book is very complex to review since there is a lot to consider.

First of all, I find the retelling of Henry's death very moving. I can see it was a heartbreaking experience and somehow this mom made me part of the good, the bad and the ugly.

I can't begin to imagine all the suffering this young family had to face, and yet they've decided to use it for a greater good, which is really inspiring.

This book also showed me it is important to judge all sermons in the light of the Word,
This is a hard book to read and to review.

I chose it because for a long time, there were certain things I was intellectually willing to ignore to be part of a church community. I've never taken the whole Bible literally, but have appreciated it as a story that carries truth. It was not so important to me which parts of it were literally true and which were not.

I didn't really believe that everything was part of God's plan or that God caused bad things to happen to people, but I guess some part
Robert Martin
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A little less than four years ago, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Almost 9 years ago now, my mother fell ill around mother's day with sudden onset acute pancreatitis and died 6 weeks later. Both of those situations were bathed in prayer, where we sought God's plan and purpose, and where we hoped for a miracle. However, my wife still had to face chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery... and my mother still died. And, for me, "It's all God's plan" just didn't feel like the right answer. G ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot express enough how important this book has been to me. At the lowest point of my experience of grief and loss I was wrestling with trying to understand how a loving God could have brought my pain and suffering about. Jessica Kelley helped to rescue my strangled faith and give me renewed joy and trust in our God who is love himself. I have been able to approach my pain and run into the arms of Jesus knowing it was not caused by action or inaction of God, but that, in fact, “an enemy has ...more
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book written by a mother who's child died of brain cancer at the age of four. It describes her faith journey before, during and after her child's illness and death. The author discusses the typical blueprint worldview that most Christians follow (that God is orchestrating all the details of our lives, even giving her son brain cancer). And counteracts that worldview with a warfare worldview, which allows people to maintain their faith and their passion for a loving God, even after horr ...more
Tanya Marlow
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Everyone has a background theology of suffering – but does your theology hold up when you undergo major tragedy? This is the question Kelley addresses in her powerful book on God’s role in suffering. It’s a sandwich structure – theology at the start and end, and in the middle an (incredibly moving and beautifully-written) memoir of her four-year-old boy dying of cancer.

Her contention is that much Christian theology (especially conservative evangelical) overemphasises God’s sovereignty, with the
April Yamasaki
In this book, author Jessica Kelley tells the heart-breaking story of how her four-year-old son, Henry, was diagnosed with brain cancer, how he endured four surgeries in 28 days, until the best treatment option left was for his parents to take Henry home and care for him there during his final months. As they lovingly cared for their son, they also wrestled with deep questions of faith. Her account is beautifully told--personal, thoughtful, and thought-provoking, grounded in Scripture and theolo ...more
Ryan Robinson
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book that powerfully weaves together an emotional personal story with intense biblical studies and theological discussion of the toughest challenge to belief in a loving god. Jessica's vulnerability sharing the story of Henry and how she reacted through all of it is very moving, almost pushing me to tears several times.

The theological discussions that come along with it are extremely important. Like most Western Christians, Jessica grew up with the "blueprint" version of God.
Yvonne Kneeshaw
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although I've been a christian for a long time, I had never heard of the blueprint view and warfare view. Now that i know the difference, I realize that i have always sided with blueprint but after reading this book twice, I am beginning to realize that I also believe in parts of the warfare view. Having been chronically ill majority of my life, I used to have a picture of God beating me with physical pain but had to change that picture to one of God weeping with me instead. That I am resting in ...more
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great book, written in 3 parts. The first part describes her change in understanding of what God is like with backdrop the death of her young son looming in her future though not yet aware of this. The middle part is her gut wrenching story of her young sons journey which a hyper aggressive brain tumour that took his life. Oh my, I just wept. In the last part she takes on the question of where is God in our pain and tragedies. She describes what she calls the blueprint view where God controls ...more
Bjorn Midtlyng
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This might be one of the most timely books I have ever read. Whether you agree or not with the author, she will give you so much to think about regarding everything you may have been taught about theology. The book is extremely well written and researched. Everything supported in scripture or footnoted in the back. Amazing combination of heart breaking testimony and theological research.
Janyne McConnaughey
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for any who have suffered and questioned the role of God in their suffering. This book played an important role in my own journey of healing. Sometimes the simple answers we give to others who are suffering are not helpful--the author shares her journey to help us do better!
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I agree with the author that God is loving and doesn't cause tragedy but I disagree with her that God is weak. Easy to read and thought provoking. ...more
Chuck McKnight
This was a hard book for me to read. It’s also a book that has desperately needed to be written.

Every time a tragedy strikes, from the death of a loved one to a natural disaster, certain well-meaning but misguided Christians assert that God is in control of the situation. There’s a hidden reason, they suggest, why God would allow (or cause) this to happen. His ways are mysterious, but he’s working it all together for good. God is apparently trying to teach us something. It’s ultimately all for h
Wesley Rostoll
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is Jessica's testimony where she vividly retells the tragic story of her four year old son Henry's death from a brain tumor and where she explores what God’s role in that process was. The book starts with a bit of a background story as to how she went from believing that God was in total control of everything that happens on earth and that all of the pain and suffering around us was somehow allowed or designed by God to ultimately bring glory to Him. To how she eventually came to reject tha ...more
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book tackles the question of God and human suffering (theodicy). When tragedy strikes and/or suffering is experienced those who claim Christianity offer and are offered many different responses. Some responses are more helpful than others, while others are downright harmful.

Jessica Kelley offers a perspective in this book on this question that is an alternative to one that is generally prevalent in today's Christianity.

She gives the common view a name: blueprint. In this view God has a deta
Rhonda Habel
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book and so well written I felt as though I walked step by step through Jessica's journey with 4-year-old Henry in his precious life and premature death. While truly heartbreaking, through the pain and grief we are offered a deeper understanding of God's love and a theological view of suffering in which God walks side by side with us, rather than being the cause. ...more
Tania Harris
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Melanie Springer Mock
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A powerful book that has helped transform my understanding of suffering and of God's continual, loving presence in the midst of pain. ...more
Brettley Ruggles
rated it really liked it
Oct 27, 2016
Adrian Nester
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Nov 23, 2016
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez
rated it it was amazing
Apr 25, 2016
I would not have thought I still held a "blueprint worldview," but having it paid off so clearly, I recognized my thoughts quite a bit. I have a feeling both the familiar, heartbreaking story and the worldview shift will be sticking with me. ...more
Cindi P.
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Apr 05, 2017
Laura Davidson
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Apr 19, 2016
Erica Cunningham
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Nov 27, 2017
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Feb 01, 2016
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Feb 04, 2017
Matthew Verheul
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Mar 21, 2017
Tiaan Willemse
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