Tuesday, November 10, 2015


The latest devotional by pastor Mark Batterson is entitled If, Trading Your If Only Regrets for God's What If Possibilities. This book was written to get us to recognize that dwelling on our past failures and misses while clinging tightly to "If only I had ..." is keeping us from living our life in full. Only by setting aside our "If only ..." miseries can we hope to fully embrace the life that God would have for us. Weighing in at nearly 300 pages, this is notably the longest of Batterson's books, but from start to finish, it is typical Batterson. It is chock full of his usual energetic and clever word play and his illustrative anecdotes. Full of "rah rah" encouragement, but essentially devoid of any practical, concrete suggestions for actually moving from "If Only" to "What If".

The book is divided up into 30 chapters, each designed to be part of a daily devotional. I kind of thought of each chapter as a daily pep talk more than anything. A way to get my mind right and to dispel any cloud of negativity lingering about me. As I considered how I would approach this review, I thought to list some of the topics included in the different chapters, but this book was not really written with each chapter covering a different topic. In fact, if the subsections that made up each chapter were randomly shuffled and then reassembled into new chapters, the book would not read all that differently. Essentially this was just a collection of easily digestible chapters all based on the same theme of letting go of the past and focusing on what God would have us do.

Certainly nothing here was new or profound, and nothing "stuck" with me after I finished the last page and closed the book cover. However, it was still an enjoyable read and it fulfilled its purpose of keeping me more focused on God during my time with it.