Review: How God Used a Thunderstorm

Just because stories are old, doesn't make them wonderful. And just because the stories are mixed with a Bible verse or Biblical principle, doesn't make them helpful.

This is how I would summarize How God Used a Thunderstorm, a devotional book by Joel Beeke and Diana Kleyn.

I am not a big fan of devotional books (or Bible storybooks), usually finding them too weak and fluffy. But this one is particularly bad. Maybe I had higher hopes, because of the popularity of Beeke (I love a lot of what he writes about), or the blog that recommended this.

A compilation of supposedly-true stories from over 100 years ago, this book is supposed to encourage spiritual growth for middle grade children. But I won't use it with mine. In fact, I don't plan to finish this book myself (which is a big deal for me).

As I went through about a third of the book, I kept asking, "Where is Jesus?" Each brief story implies that all you need to do is know a Bible verse and pray a prayer, and everything changes. I found very, very few references to the work of Jesus, and to life change through the Holy Spirit.

While I agree that knowing God's word and praying to him are important, let's not treat the Bible as a roadmap for life. Life change happens through trusting in Jesus and what He has already done for us.

I want my kids to read the Bible, to pray, and to do a host of all other spiritual disciplines. But above all, I want them to focus on Jesus and what He did at the cross. I want them to pursue Jesus, not to just pursue good things. And this book will not help them do that.

If you want a better resource, try one of these resources that I recommend.

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