Curveball {A Book a Day 7}

When it comes to your faith, can you ignore your experiences?

Pete Enns had a promising future in professional baseball…until life sent him the curveball of a blown elbow. Now what?

The experience changed the trajectory of his life. And eventually his faith.

“I thought God behaved a certain way. I found out God doesn’t. So, now what would I do? What did I think about God? That question was no longer academic. It would shape my journey of faith for the rest of my life, for other blown elbows would come.”

We each step into life with a somewhat inherited view of God. In the beginning, our beliefs about God come from what our parents or early teachers tell us about God. We then learn from others. And we continue to learn from what we read and understand ourselves.

But we also learn about God through our experiences.

Our experiences can’t be discounted. They are valuable learning tools. 

As Pete discovered,

“I came to understand that my understanding of God was not adequate for handling reality. My crushed dream was an invitation—actually, an offer I couldn’t refuse—to recognize that I had been laboring under a small view of God.”

As we mature, our understanding of God matures with us.

In Pete’s new book Curveball: When Your Faith Takes Turns You Never Saw Coming (or How I Stumbled and Tripped My Way to Finding a Bigger God), he encourages us to not fear adjusting our views of God. He doesn’t direct us how to do it or in which direction to go, but he reassures us it is normal and healthy thing to do.

“Our job is to try to be willing to stay awake to what our experiences are telling us about this better God and to make adjustments when necessary.”

We’ll never totally understand God, but by staying awake to God’s presence in our everyday lives, we can continue moving forward in God’s love.

Curveball by Peter Enns

More Quotes from Curveball

“How we understand God has ramifications for how we treat others.”

~ * ~

“Wrestling with God may leave us limping, but it transforms our understanding of who God is. We see God better after the struggle.”

~ * ~

“Seeing God in the messy humanity of others and not despite it has been for me a radically challenging notion about God. It makes it all so . . . messy.”

~ * ~

“These four things—scripture, tradition, reason, and experience—work together.”

~ * ~

“When we show love to one another, a lot changes.”

~ * ~

“In my own life, I have been surprised so often by who reflects the love of God to me that I’ve stopped being surprised.”

This book won’t be for everyone. Pete goes into a lot of scientific stuff about the expansiveness of the universe, etc. I got lost in a few places. But as with all books, I take what it helpful, and leave what is not.

Has an experience in your life updated your view of God? Share in the comments.

My thanks to NetGalley + HarperOne
for the review copy of Curveball

You are on Day #7 of the series, A Book a Day {Nonfiction Favorites}.

Each day of February 2023 I’ll be recommending one book a day from my favorite nonfiction books.

The Table of Contents for all 28 books is here, updated daily.

A Book a Day: Nonfiction Favorites

Atlas of the Heart” {Book 6}

The Dance of Connection” {Book 8}

7 thoughts on “Curveball {A Book a Day 7}

  1. Jerralea Winn Miller

    So true! “We see God better after the struggle.” When I look back, I can see how He was always working things out for me. I must trust He is continuing to do so. I agree with what Pete said “other blown elbows would come.” For some reason, I keep thinking I might get a break from further disappointments, but that is not really how life is in this world. It will be in the next!

  2. Trudy

    Thank you for all of these book reviews, Lisa. I love how you can just take what is helpful and yet keep reading if you get lost. When I can’t get into a book, I stop reading it, so I appreciate you sharing what you learn. 🙂 Thank you for the encouragement to stay awake to God’s presence in our everyday lives and to continue to move forward in God’s love. Love and blessings to you!

  3. Gayl

    I think we all grow up with some idea of God that we get from our parents and others, but when we go to scripture, we get a true representation of God. Yes, our experiences do make it more real for us, but I believe the Bible still tells us all we need to know about who God is. We may have to read passages over and over before we “get it” and sometimes we won’t “get it” in places, but that’s where trust comes in and leaning on the Holy Spirit to lead. This book sounds interesting. It’s really true that when something happens to challenge our view of God, it really does change us. God is so much bigger than any of us imagine! Blessings to you, Lisa! Thanks for sharing all these interesting book reviews.

  4. Amy

    “My crushed dream was an invitation—actually, an offer I couldn’t refuse—to recognize that I had been laboring under a small view of God.” Yes! I am learning the same. Another book for my list! Thank you for your recommendations!

  5. David

    I think must have got a strong impression of God sometime back before I can remember, maybe from my mother, maybe from Sunday school. It seems now I’ve been trying to find it again ever since.

    I really love your closing sentence, “We’ll never totally understand God, …”

    The quotes from the book are pretty good too. That story in Genesis of Jacob wrestling with God really resonated with me. Why do we do it?

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