How does this differ from other “surrender to God” books? That was my question upon being introduced to A BEAUTIFUL DEFEAT by Kevin Malarkey. Thanks to Nelson Books, I got the answer. Kevin said, “This book is not written by a pastor who is speaking to his flock. It is written by a person who sits next to the reader in church. The authenticity that comes from this perspective is noticeable from the very first sentence of the introduction.”
After reading the book, I agree with the author’s statement. He also writes in the book, “This book is not intended to be theoretical, philosophical, or even theological. The goal is for it to be both biblical and practical.” And that shines through. There’s a heavy dose of scripture and real-life examples offered from Kevin’s life. This is a testament to his journey and findings as he, and his clients, have discovered as they have given themselves over to God’s will.
Easier said than done. Right away, Kevin states that the process of surrender is messy. There’s a bunch of “me” involved. And, as we read along, Kevin shares his process while action steps and practice implementations, followed by a prayer time. One of my favorite action steps, though maybe morbid, was making my own death certificate. Followed by prayer, this provided a good reflection time about my own will versus surrender. There’s enough here, though a smaller book, to allow everyone to find their own notable moment.
This book is heavier on the evangelical belief of battles with the devil. I know people will come into this book from all kinds of Christian beliefs, so I wanted to make note of that ahead of time. Kevin offers plenty of scripture and the points are well taken.
Part of A BEAUTIFUL DEFEAT reminds me of a section I read in Pastor Rudy’s book LOVE. PERIOD. It is a section dealing with God’s plan for us during moments of pain or suffering. Kevin Malarkey works through how we surrender to God’s will during this time. Pastor Rudy shared a quote from C.S. Lewis that I thought worked well here. Lewis wrote, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
All-in-all, A BEAUTIFUL DEFEAT accomplishes what it sets out to do: remind us of our purpose and guides us into a more meaningful life in His will: all without being overbearing or highbrow.
Thanks to Nelson Books for sending this over for me to review. On Goodreads, I’m giving this three stars because “I liked it”. On Amazon, I’m giving this four stars because that is their "I like it".