3 Words That Will Change Your Life: The Secret To Experiencing The Joy Of God’s Presence, by Mike Novotny
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
If someone told me that this book had been written by an adult who struggled with ADHD, I would believe them. This book has the feel of being the work of someone who would be an entertaining dinner companion with humorous and witty conversation but not someone whose reliability and steadiness could be taken for granted. In that light it is probably not too surprising that the author has written a book that is centered around conveying to the reader that God is here. Filled with humorous images, including photos and endearingly incompetent drawings, this book is not a hard or an unpleasant read and the author is earnest and passionate in his approach. It is clear that the author may be engaging in a bit of oversharing and I hope he cleared what he wrote with his close family members before publishing this book, but this book gives the reader the hope that if they are are intense and random people they too may eventually have a published book about their faith. And that is a good hope to have.
This book is a little bit less than 200 pages and is divided into nine chapter and three parts. The author begins with a discussion of God being here and the way that counterfeits of this idea can be faith-killers for many people (1). After that, the first part of the book discusses God (I) with chapters that look at our biggest problem and God’s bigger solution (2), moments that express God’s presence and providence that the author talks about from his life and imagination (3), and a couple of unexpected ways that people can meet God (4). The second part of the book then examines God’s existence and its importance for us (II), specifically with regards to the hunger for eternity that we all have in our hearts (5), the sad symptoms that result from putting our faith in what is vapor or vanity or nothingness (6), and the joy and benefits of living in the refuge of God (7). The third part of the book discusses God being here (III) and then looks at the way that being with God is better than anything this earth has to offer (8) as well as an exploration of what most Christians miss with regards to thinking about God’s presence (9), after which the book ends with acknowledgements, notes, and information about the author.
Does this book really address the topic as successfully as the author would wish? I have no doubt, in reading this book, that the author is wholeheartedly sincere about his belief in the importance of knowing and feeling that God is there for us even in our darkest times. I do not know if this book would really answer the concerns of someone who was in the grips of despair in struggling with God’s presence in the face of life’s horrors. For the more mundane task of getting people more excited about and to think more seriously about God’s presence in our lives and in our world, I think this book does a very good job at demonstrating the way that we can take God for granted and that it is very unwise to do so. In terms of entertainment value, this book is worth reading for the author’s quirky randomness (the footnotes are a delight) alone apart from its value in serving the goals and ambitions of the author in writing encouragement to others about their security in God. And if I am more gloomy than most who will read this book I can still appreciate the author’s lighthearted and humorous approach.