Max Lucado, best known as America’s favorite storyteller, has written his fortieth book on the desperately needed subject matter of hope…specifically, Unshakable Hope. Lucado, who has been observing how believers and unbelievers alike are succumbing to nightly newscasts’ dismal reports of a world gone crazy, realized everyone needs a fresh dose of hope to face today’s and tomorrow’s personal and global challenges. He accomplishes his objective through, what else? Gripping storytelling that will inspire, equip, and exhort Christians to take their heavy burdens straight to the throne of Christ.
Lucado, like many authors, finds interesting ways to parallel biblical accounts of favorite characters from the Old and New Testament into lessons for today’s Christ follower. Here, Lucado, in his characteristically winsome style, describes how the number forty is key. Lucado writes, “Forty. Noah floated for 40 days in the flood. Moses spent 40 years in the desert. The Hebrews wandered 40 years in the wilderness. Jesus endured 40 days of temptation. There’s something significant about the number 40. So, if you’ll allow me to mention the fact, this is my fortieth book. No one could be more grateful than I am. To think that God would let a converted drunk prone to self-promotion and self-centeredness, write one page, much less forty books’ worth, is yet another testimony to his goodness and grace.”
The author sets the stage for this decidedly uplifting text by sharing the frighteningly high suicide rate in the United States. Since 1999, the rate of suicides has increased an unbelievable twenty-four percent. Lucado notes that despite the fact that modern society has never been more educated; has more technology available; and is saturated with entertainment and recreation, these advances leave individuals feeling hopeless. He writes, “More people than ever are orchestrating their own deaths. How could this be? Among the answers must be this: people are dying for lack of hope. Secularism sucks the hope out of society. It reduces the world to a few decades between birth and hearse. Many people believe this world is as good as it gets, and let’s face it. It’s not that good.” Lucado reminds Christ followers that they are the “People of the Promise” who have a distinct advantage because they can, “Determine to ponder, proclaim, and pray the promises of God.”
Lucado’s stories continually serve to remind readers that as believers in Jesus’ redemptive work on the Cross, they can choose to view life from a different and eternal perspective. He shares, “When problems surface, People of the Promise can be heard telling themselves, ‘But God said…’ When struggles threaten, they can be seen flipping through Scripture, saying, ‘I think God said something about this.’ When comforting others, they’re prone to ask, ‘Do you know God’s promise on this topic?’ The promises of God serve as an apothecary shelf of remedies. Just as the doctor might prescribe a medication for your body. God has given promises for your heart. He shares them as gifts from friend to friend.”