Everyday Battles: Knowing God Through Our Daily Conflicts is the fourth and last of Bob Schultz’s books for boys and young men. I read it with my youngest son. The author passed away before this book was completed and his daughter got what he had ready for print and added an epilogue.
Bob covered a lot of ground in the book, from confrontations, chastisement, fightings within, refuge, and more. One chapter discussed why some OT battles came about when the temple of God was neglected or filled with abominations and what lessons that has for us. You would expect some discussion about the armor described in Ephesians 6, but only a couple of pieces are mentioned. I don’t know if he meant to get to the rest of it before he passed away. He discusses how a good, loving, wise and kind God allows battles.
His overall theme is that God has something to teach you during battles: something about yourself, but mainly something about Himself.
One quote I especially liked was in the context of boys wrestling. He discusses why he thinks it is okay to allow it, right and wrong times and places for it, and then he says:
If you find yourself frustrated because you’re losing, don’t lash out in anger. Discover why you’re getting beat. Let it motivate you to learn new skills or develop more strength. I wrestled a guy called Herfy for years and never won a match, yet I gained many tricks I’ve successfully used since (p. 15-16).
There is a lot of wisdom there that can be applied to many areas.
This quote bothered me a little at first:
The one thing I want to learn in life is to understand and practically experience abiding in Christ. I’m not looking for some Bible lesson to discuss or some theory to question. I want to live in harmony with the One who created the universe while I’m building houses, driving my truck, walking hand in hand with my wife or my daughters. I want to hear His voice, watch Him work, and follow Him in every adventure He wants to lead me through (p. 31).
At first reading it sounded to me like he was downplaying Bible reading and study in favor of seeking God through experience. But as I thumbed through several pages while preparing for this review, I was reminded that he referred to the Bible often, much more than I had remembered, and drew much of what he taught from the Bible. So I think perhaps what he is getting at here is that he doesn’t want his spiritual experience to be all academic, but rather he wanted it to carry through to the rest of his life.
I also expected to see some discussion on what we commonly hear of as the enemies of Christians and how to combat them: the world (I John 5:4-5), the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17), and the devil (James 4:7-8, Matthew 4:1-11, Ephesians 6:17). There was some mention of fighting the flesh, but not much. Again, I don’t know if that’s something he would have included if he had lived long enough to complete the book, but my son and I are discussing some of these passages in the aftermath of reading the book.
My feelings immediately after the book were disappointment at what he didn’t include what I would have, but then if you get any five people, even any five Christians to write a book on one topic, you’re probably going to end up with five very different books though they might cover some of the same ground. And as I went back over parts of the book for review, I was reminded of many good aspects of it and good things he did bring out. The book isn’t necessarily a manual for how to fight battles, though he discusses some of that: it’s mainly an encouragement to seek the heart of God and draw close to Him through the battles He allows.
(This review will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)