"The satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet." Proverbs 27:7, NKJV
I loved reading Sara Hagerty's story, learning a little about the yearnings of her heart, and appreciating the model she provides for very slowly, randomly, surprisingly learning to trust God. Maybe Sara teaches us how ultimately to tell about our own struggles in ways that will benefit others?
Some reviewers interpreted Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things as mostly about the author's more than a dozen years' long inability to conceive and birth a biological child, but I feel that part of the book's all but peripheral. Like most of us, Sara had major problems with openness and vulnerability, and she tells us about sometimes intentionally, at other times almost accidentally opening herself to her husband, her kids, to God.
Everyone carries with them yearnings and questions of "Lord, how long? When, Lord? I know you have called me [to a particular task, ministry, role] but how will it happen? I'm out of options!" If you've gone to church much, just as Sara did, you totally have noticed all the young married 20-somethings who are pregnant, nursing, trailing a toddler behind them, or maybe both PG and with a toddler or two in tow. Though Every Bitter Thing is far more about Sara's experiences waiting on God's faithfulness with increasing trust, needless to say, her expectation that she'd get pregnant shortly after she and Nate got married (in other words, many years before she actually conceived) interweaves through her story. One cannot humanly avoid trying to figuring out why their own well-prepared readiness for a particular task, ministry or role isn't causing it to happen.
Several times Sara refers to the covenant relationship she has with her husband. We live in the mercy-filled, loving sovereignty of the God who covenants, the God who remembers, and this includes God remembering that we humans frequently forget. In the copy of the book I received, chapter 14 is all about "The One Who Remembers."
Every Bitter Thing is Sweet demonstrates Sara's daily solid grounding in scripture―in my theological tradition, that would include a close parallel of being grounded in the sacraments. Theologies not only spoken but also worn with (and within) our entire beings!
Please let me assure you, this isn't about maintaining a "Praise the Lord anyway" mindset while disappoints engulf you type of book. This isn't about someone who fantasizes she's imitating the apostle Paul and becoming sanctified by glorying in her sufferings. How wonderful the book title isn't (for example) an über-difficult to untangle theological sentence from Romans or Galatians, or one of Jesus of Nazareth's charges to us that more often than not feels impossible, but rather an everyday observation from Proverbs, a book included in what we sometimes call scripture's "wisdom" literature.
In the interest of getting this blog post finished and published, I'll mention the way God has brought me back to my original aspiration (from all the way back before kindergarten!) of being a designer as both very sweet and sometimes too too bitter. I've tried to begin telling some of my back story to disappointingly few blog post hits, but the short version of bittersweet includes I've even won awards for my design in recent years, yet no one has been there to celebrate with me, least of all the now former friends I'd truly love to observe my comeback.
A snippet of scripture heads each chapter; scripture passages "For Your Continued Pursuit" conclude each chapter. I hope you'll visit Sara's Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet site and blog, and maybe watch her video on her amazon page, too!
Because amazon vine sent me a prepublication copy that's missing the foreword by Katie Davis – and possibly other features – I only have been able to comment on Sara's own words.
"Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see―how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him." Psalm 34:8, MSG
my amazon review: grounded in scripture and in God's love