"Aching Joy: Following God through the Land of Unanswered Prayer" in Review

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“Fine. That’s what we call the ground where we think we ought to be standing. The ground of Fine. We imagine ourselves there, and we keep walking. Eyes up. Smile on. Don’t look down. Don’t admit your open wounds, your hanging doubts, your naked needs.”

– Jason Hague, Aching Joy

I met Jason at a conference he, his wife, Jonathan and I were all speaking at. We immediately connected, and they instantly felt like long lost friends. When his book came out, I was privileged and excited to read it, even with the stacks of books I have waiting for me to dig into, it went to the top of the pile. His book is just like he is – real and relational.  

One of the reasons Jonathan and I connected with Jason so instantly was the fact that he is real. There’s no sugar-coated fake smile. There’s no hiding the hard, pretending it doesn’t exist or impact life. But there’s also joy and laughter in the connecting. Aching Joy is a true reflection of the author and it is a rare treasure.

Aching Joy reads like beautifully written prose poetry but has all the realness and rawness of opening a journal and reading the innermost struggles and questions of the spiritual and emotional journey of person going through the land of unanswered prayers in heartbreaking circumstances. And when those circumstances match your journey and circumstances, a child with special needs, whew. It goes straight to the heart. 

Jason covers it all: the struggles, the questions, the doubts, the fear, the disillusionment, the wrestling with God, the learning new things about God, new insights, and new perspectives.

Aching Joy opens a window and lets the reader peer into the transformation as it takes place in one man’s soul as he traverses the land of unanswered prayer. Yet, that man’s journey is not a rare or an entirely unique one, as I find it matches my own and many other parents walking this path.

Jason beautifully lays out the struggles and tug of war in all its messiness that happens in a person’s heart and head as they seek to understand the “Why?” and the “Where are you, God?” with the truth they know in the Bible and the reality of their life circumstance.

The lovely thing about Aching Joy is that while Jason invites you to journey with him, it is not the aimless wanderings and ponderings like would be found in a journal.  He shares the Biblical truths he discovered and the God he has come to know in a new way in the process of the journey that has led to hope, healing, and joy. Although, it is definitely still an aching joy and will remain so, as it will for all of us, until the day of the final and complete redemption of all things.

“The road ahead is dangerous but not barren. There is sustenance here, because Christ himself is here, and he goes before us. He walked this path already, this Man of Sorrows, and endured all that we must endure and more…He does not hover above us on the winds of false expectations. Rather, he stands next to us with his own humble scars, beckoning us forward.”

– Jason Hague, Aching Joy

Written by Sarah McGuire, Co-Founder of Hope Anew