Have you ever had a dream shattered? Been disappointed? Had your hopes dashed? Had more questions than answers? Had to let go of your plans? Had the bottom fall out of your life? Had a broken heart? Of course you have. You know how I know? Because the blood is running warm in your veins. First time author and Nashville, TN area pastor Pete Wilson has just released his first book, “Plan B” (Thomas Nelson) and he has a message for you: “you are not alone!”
I’m going to be honest with you. I read much of “Plan B” through tears. I’ve shared various parts of my story here over the past couple months, and it would be an understatement to say that I am right in the center of my own “Plan B” situation. As I have been walking out my own “Plan B”, learning to let go of my plans and dreams for myself and embrace the story God is writing for me, I have wrestled hard with the questions… “why”, “when”, “how”, “what if”, “why not”, “now what”, etc. If it were possible for a book to be a life soundtrack, “Plan B” would be mine. If that sounds like I’m telling your story, then this book is for you.
Reading “Plan B” has been at times confirmation, at times cathartic and at other times a road map. There were moments when I felt like it was a checklist, where I could look back at the milestones in my own journey and match them to the heart-process Pete described in the book. Other moments, it was such a release for my heart, giving me permission to feel the way I feel and understand that the way I feel doesn’t intimidate God. Then there were moments when I re-read, highlighted and collected wisdom like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter, knowing that I would need it again very soon.
Pete’s conversational tone and writing style make you feel like you’re just talking with a good friend about working through the nuts and bolts of life. When he talks, in chapter 6, about how “our faith must rest on God’s identity and not necessarily his activity”, it challenged me to look back over my life and remember the times when my heart was so swayed by what I thought God should be doing instead of being anchored in who God is. Ultimately, our “Plan B” is most often actually God’s “Plan A”, once He has dealt with our expectations and entitlement… what we think we deserve.
Is it possible you don’t really want God? Is it possible you just want what you think God can give you?
I’ve seen some criticism of “Plan B”, stating that while the book boldly poses a lofty question, “What do you do when God doesn’t show up the way you thought He would?”, it doesn’t deliver when it’s time for the answer. I take issue what that argument and propose that perhaps a significant misstep of much of today’s Christianity is that when it comes to offering answers, it often over-promises but under-delivers. Life is not full of answers, and neither is faith. But you know what both ARE full of? Questions.
Is it possible that we have become so accustomed to the bait-and-switch of modern evangelicalism, where the false promise of answers are dangled like a carrot before the cross, that we are afraid of actually living with the questions? Have we been so long seduced by 3-piece suit-wearing, name-it-and-claim-it Jesus pitch-men who write checks with their words that life can’t cash that our hearts are unable to fathom a God who is to be found in the balance… in the tension… in the questions?
In one of my favorite quotes from “Plan B”, Pete addresses this, saying:
Instead of an answer, God offers us something better. He offers us a solution. He offers us the cross.
While Pete reassures us of the finality of the cross as the ultimate solution, he also honestly confesses that does not relieve us, as believers, of both the opportunity and obligation to live by faith… to live with the questions.
Even as I write this and “Plan B” hits store shelves, Nashville has been hit with a historic flood that has left many people homeless, displaced, grasping for hope, asking the hard questions, suddenly and unexpectedly living their own “Plan B”.
You won’t find “5 steps to your breakthrough” or “12 ways to successful living” here. But what you will find is someone who is confident that God sits on the throne, but who also isn’t afraid to say that sometimes life still just sucks. Is “Plan B” going to give you your answers? Maybe not. But it will give you permission to ask the questions. And sometimes, that’s all your heart needs.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”