“Is this as good as it gets?” I’m sure this is a familiar question to most of us. We’ve all experienced disappointments, crisis, and setbacks often back to back. Founder of LifeChange Counseling and Marriage Center of Franklin, TN, Ramon Presson get right to the heart of that question with an honest -yet less than stellar – book title, “When Will My Life Not Suck?”
Ramon writes with wit and humor, while getting his point across in a book that helps to focus the reader on the hope of a better world to come. He uses Paul’s letter to the Philippians to show how to deal with a broken and suffering world in the meantime. Ramon writes as a man who is in the trenches with us daily fighting the fight of faith against pessimism and depression. The stories he shares in this book are sure to connect with readers of every sort of background.
I was a little skeptical of the book until I came across something that really stood out to me in the second chapter that was powerfully convicting.
He writes “How strange is it that when we ask God to bless us, what we want is simply more of the best that the world can give? We want God to bless us with more money, fewer difficulties, more success, less conflict, more opportunities, and more influence. Sometimes what we want and expect from God is not very different from what we would want and expect from a really good president or even a benign dictator.”
Those words set the stage for the rest of the book where Presson leads the reader to acknowledge discontentment for the things of this world, and presents them with a better choice. The chapters take us on a journey to see a bigger picture. We live in a broken world with broken people and Ramon writes about the honest struggles of life, boiling it down to a question each must answer for ourselves. Will we continue being discontent chasing after the things of this world or will we pursue the One who gives true contentment?
Throughout the book I was reminded the simple things in life matter. I saw the value of reflecting on proper perspective, the need to cultivate friendships with other men, and keeping my gaze fixed on Christ.
It’s in the last three chapters that the book begins to shine as he unpacks how Paul dealt with Christian suffering. Ramon steps on a lot of toes and I get the feeling he is weary of American Christianity. I personally appreciated his thoughts against the idea of using corny slogans on church signs.
“I’m confident that Jesus is delighted to know that He is being touted like an effective underarm deodorant or lawn fertilizer.”
Ramon writes with humor and compassion (along with a little obvious sarcasm) while dealing with some serious subjects. If you are looking for a perspective shift, the stories and illustrations may be very helpful for you. If you are struggling with pessimism I believe you will find great encouragement and practical ways to experience hope and joy in this midst of the daily struggles of life.