A Review of “Rewriting Your Broken Story” by Kenneth Boa

There is power in perspective. What we dwell on, the lens through which we view our circumstances often determines how we we respond, and the level of strength, hope, and endurance we cultivate. Kenneth Boa knows this and in Rewriting Your Broken Story he aims to help readers gain an eternal perspective on their sufferings and hardships. This is a decent book with good content, but maybe not the best one out there. Redundancy hampers the development of the work.

Rewriting Your Broken Story is a book for people who live in broken worlds, which means it’s a book for all of us. We all experience suffering hardship, but our perspective is the key to how we respond to those circumstances. Boa draws a contrast across the book between a temporal and eternal perspective.

Temporal Perspective:
This world is all there is. There is no life after death.

Eternal Perspective:
Life on earth is important, but there is more than this world has to offer. We were made for eternity. (11)

We often live with the former perspective, and a “temporal perspective will inevitably lead you to a crisis” (15). An eternal perspective, however, “can help you to make sense of the story you are living right now” (10). In much of the rest of the book, then, Boa unpacks this contrast more clearly. He makes the case for his thesis and then aims to help readers learn this perspective, cultivate it, and keep it.

Part of the struggle to accept this eternal perspective, Boa knows, is that we live with a sense of denial. We do not recognize our mortality and therefore do not live in light of the afterlife. We need the challenging reminder that we will all die and nothing that is not done for God will last. So, Boa invites us to “number our days,” as the Psalmist says. Much of the book brings us back to our own hearts as the key to embracing this eternal perspective. Having realized that we do live in light of eternity, we must “choose each day whether we will live as if this world is all there is or if our earthly existence is a brief pilgrimage during which we learn and grow and are prepared for eternity” (45). There are, according to Boa, three worldviews that “vie for our allegiance”: (1) Materialism; (2) spiritualism; (3) theism (60-70). Which worldview we serve shifts our perspective and determines how we respond to our suffering. In other words, the issue is heart allegiances. Again and again Boa makes this point.

To confront our suffering rightly, to face it and respond to it well, we must set it within the framework of eternity. Boa’s point is well made and encouraging. We all can benefit from this reminder, and for some of us it may just be life-changing. Rewriting Your Broken Story is all about helping us see that in fact we aren’t writing our story, rather God is and in His hands it will “all work out for good” (Rom. 8:28).

The book is an easy read. It is a popular level book on Christian living and therefore easily accessible. He also includes questions for reflection and suggested practical exercises to help work out the ideas in the chapters. In that regard it could be a good book to study as a group. It does tend to border on redundancy. I often found myself feel frustrated that Boa labored points, repeated ideas from previous chapters, and rephrased concepts as if they were new developments. Redundancy became a detriment to the book as I progressed through it. I also wanted more practical help within the chapters, suggestions on how to do more to cultivate this eternal perspective. He sometimes moved in that direction but not with enough real-life application for me. Overall this is a good book, with an important message. I am not sure, however, it would be my first choice for those struggling with suffering. Instead I’d recommend Tim Keller’s Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering or Steve Viars’ Putting Your Past in Its Place over this particular work. Rewriting Your Broken Story is a good book, but maybe not the best one out there.

Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for suggestions at the end.

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