An Average Joe Review of Plan B
Wow. This is tough. Reviewing a book by a person, in this case Pete Wilson, that I have met and talked with and hope to meet with again without compromising or being biased in my views of the book.
So the only way that I know how to do this is just do it. I am no theologian and I have not been to seminary or studied literature in college (though there was that one Art Appreciation class that I had to watch the cartoon, Southpark, but I digress). You will have to take this review as one conducted by the everyday, run-of-the-mill, average Joe types.
My understanding of the bible has lead me to believe that God knew every detail of my life before He ever created the first tree. David says in Psalms 139 that everyone of his days had been ordained before one came to be and that God had been instrumental in forming him within his mother’s womb.
People may differ in their beliefs, but for me this means that there are no surprises that are going to sneak up on God in the course of my life. He is acutely aware of every moment that I will breathe and every choice that I will make. I don’t want to go down the path of freewill, election, or predestination in this review. It’s enough to say that in my belief system there is room for God’s Omniscience and my freewill. I don’t see those two things at odds even with making the statement that I cannot surprise God.
I say that to set up this statement. There is a Plan A that God has had all along for my life and a Plan A that I choose or dream about for my life. There are times when those two plan A’s come together and other times when they diverge. I have to be careful here not to confuse the premise of Pete’s book with my mental wanderings. Pete defines Plan B as those moments when life is not turning out the way we thought – those times when life throws us a curve-ball through the loss of health, wealth, or relationships that we have built our dreams upon. From a purely theological standpoint (based on my earlier assumptions) we are never outside of God’s plan A for our lives, however, God may have orchestrated or allowed events to take place in our lives that we view as Plan B because they don’t match up with what we would have for us. Let’s face it, given the opportunity, none of use would ever choose to go through the moments that have caused us unknown depths of grief. We would never have chosen to shape our lives through adversity or loss.
Pete’s book takes the reader on a journey that helps them discover meaning in those moments when Plan B seems so much in force. I respected Pete as a person and pastor based on his transparency portrayed on his daily blog at WithoutWax.tv long before I read the book. This book has given me a better appreciation for the man of God that he is. I don’t say this to build up the man but to encourage the servant that he is. It is also an encouragement to you, the reader of this post, to trust what he has written about in his book.
Now, to be fair, I have to give some low and high points of the book otherwise this post will come across as biased. Let’s start with the negative.
In chapter 5, Pete writes this when writing about Paralysis through fear:
This is definitely not God’s will for our lives. In fact, it will most certainly keep us from becoming the persons God envisioned when he thought us into existence.
This line of thought opens the door for our ability to surprise God – to do something that He didn’t know would happen – to create a Plan B in His plans. Maybe I am missing the point of this statement and I certainly welcome insight if I have.
OK.. so that is all I have on my notes for low points.
Now for some of the good stuff. I can’t list it all or be very specific because I want you to discover for yourself what the book has to offer.
- First of all, Pete writes like he talks. Like you are in the room and he is explaining the details so that you can understand. I guess people describe that as conversational… that was this book – a conversation on the tough parts in life.
- He uses a lot of examples from the Bible. When you are writing on matters of faith, you might as well go to the source and try to get it right!
- He gives us a personal view into his life and doesn’t try to dress it all up to be more acceptable. In other words, he keeps it real.
I want to leave you with a quote from his book that I believe is apropos to who God is and what He is about in the Plan B’s of our lives. There is so much more that I could have highlighted (or dog-eared as I did in later chapters) but I think this will suffice. Pete writes about the Plan B’s of our lives:
Will it be over soon? I don’t know.
You may not know either. You may never know. In this life, many of your questions will simply not have answers. But through it all, God himself will never change. This is why our faith must rest on his identity and not necessarily his activity.
Pete poignantly presents the truth that we may not get the answers that we originally seek in our Plan B’s but, if we look in the right direction, we can find the One who holds our lives and understands deeply what it is we are going through.