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It’s so easy to look at the broken world around us and see only the bad—political and social division, relational disunity, racial tensions, and even a global pandemic. Things seem to always go from bad to worse, and our hearts can easily be inclined toward worry, anxiety, and fear—causing us to question God’s goodness.
We know God is good, right?
It’s true that He’s promised to make all things new, right?
We know that He is working all things out for the good of those who love Him, right?
Then why does it feel like everything around us is veiled in darkness, falling apart before our very eyes? Why does it feel so hard to see the good that we know is there? How can we explain why we feel so untethered, so discouraged?
Seeking Out Goodness
Alexandra Kuykendall is asking these same questions, and in her new book, “Seeking Out Goodness: Finding the True and Beautiful All Around You,” published by Baker Publishing Group, she comes alongside us in our questions.
“How do we seek out what is good when we feel paralyzed by what is difficult?” She asks.
“How do we lift our heads enough?” She wonders.
“How do we make sure to hold on to the light in the midst of the darkness?” (page 18, Seeking Out Goodness).
GOD IS STILL AT WORK
In the midst of these constant pulls toward anxiety, worry, and fear, Alexandra urges us to pursue something different. In her book, she encourages us to remember that despite the way things might seem, God is still actively at work.
Her words are grace-filled, yet compelling; gentle, yet urgent. She encourages us to slow down, to cultivate the practice of noticing, to contribute to beauty, to revel in creation, to practice gratitude, to believe the best about each other, and to play our part in ushering in the Kingdom and working toward the redemption of all things.
“My hope,” she shares, “is when you’re done reading you will have a better vision for what is good” (page 16, Seeking Out Goodness). And oh, do we need a reminder of what is good.
GOD IS STILL GOOD
In a world of discouragement, Alexandra’s words are a balm and a breath of fresh air. She doesn’t balk at addressing the difficult topics we’re all facing, and she infuses her words with the richness of Scripture, lifting our eyes to who God is amidst it all. “Though the ground we stand on feels unstable,” she reminds, “he is unchanging and steady” (page 17, Seeking Out Goodness).
Using Philippians 4:8 as a roadmap, Alexandra guides the reader through Scripture with the purpose of lifting their eyes to the truth of God and His Word. Focusing on this verse, she reminds us how Paul urges believers, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
A Reminder to Look Up
Paul knows that we will be tempted to only see the hard, to dwell on the imperfect and the difficult. He knows the members of the church at Philippi—and us too today—desperately need the reminder to look up, and to see the beauty of what God is doing. So Alexandra joins Paul as she beckons us to do just that.
“The search for good can be hard,” Alexandra acknowledges. “It is not meant for those who are looking for the easy, clean route. It is also the work of faith, because we must believe there is something worth seeking out if we are to go to all this trouble. We trust that there is a possibility that we will find treasure” (page 24, Seeking Out Goodness).
This “treasure” that we are pursuing is Christ Himself, and Alexandra tenderly reminds us that He is worthy of our seeking and our affection.
GOD IS INVITING US INTO DEEPER RELATIONSHIP
With personal anecdotes, prayers, and reflection questions throughout the book, Alexandra urges us to slow down and really process through what we’re reading, drawing us in as she nudges us to see the goodness of God. Her questions engage us, inviting us to be an active participant throughout. This invitation compels us to learn alongside her who God is. It prompts us to remember what is true and beautiful and good.
Each personal anecdote and story presses down the truths she shares. This helps to bring a robustness to the theological truths she is sharing. There is a cadence throughout the book of theology, prayers, reflection questions, and prompts. This brings the reader into a sort of liturgy. The process—of reading and thinking and engaging and praying—serves to stretch and form them.
GOD IS CALLING US TO ACTION
Alexandra penned these words while the world was in the middle of a global pandemic and the nation in the throes of political tumult. She bravely speaks into this particular cultural moment. But her words are not time-sensitive. She speaks to issues that need to be addressed. Bravely, she shares the timeless truths we need to hear today and tomorrow and decades from now. She reminds us how to have courage in the midst of injustice, how to address conflict while maintaining unity, how to face the ugly things and learn from them, and how to truly see and care for people despite our differences.
Her words have significant and poignant implications for how we as Christians engage in community. This book is not meant to simply impact the reader alone. Rather, Alexandra’s words urge the reader to encourage others to join them in seeking out goodness, in believing what is true about God, and in honoring and supporting one another. If you’re looking for a book to read with your small group—this is the one. As a community you will be both challenged and encouraged in your faith.
The truths in this book are both cognitive and practical; both theological and doxological. Alexandra knows that what we believe impacts how we act and how we serve. This pairing of the head and the heart leads us not only toward right thinking, but also toward deeper holiness and obedience.
GOD CAN BE TRUSTED
At the end of the day, the message Alexandra shares in her book, “Seeking Out Goodness,” is a simple one: What God has said is true. The challenge of her words comes with the question. Do we believe it?
Amidst our ever-changing circumstances. Do we trust that God is steadfast and in control?
Amidst the weight of life’s difficult circumstances. Do we believe that God is still at work?
Amidst the stress and toil of our day-to-day workloads. Do we know at our core that the Lord is good, kind, always strengthening us, and always upholding us?
Look For What is Beautiful
Alexandra reminds us, “We are wired to look for, find, and name what is true and beautiful. And so we will take that next step, and the next, trusting we will be able to see a bit more of God‘s goodness ahead. That goodness appears, and as we get closer, we see with more clarity what we trusted was there all along. God has not left us. His goodness is all around us” (page 225, Seeking Out Goodness).
As you read Alexandra’s words, I pray that you would remember in all things, God has not left us. He’s where He has always been—near us, with us, in us, and for us. Even amidst our messy and mundane and difficult circumstances. When everything around us is changing, falling apart, or veiled in darkness, God is unchanging, steadfast, and good.
To read more from “Seeking Out Goodness,” purchase the book here:
Meet the Author
Alexandra Kuykendall is the author of Loving My Actual Life, Loving My Actual Christmas, Loving My Actual Neighbor, and The Artist’s Daughter and the cohost of The Open Door Sisterhood podcast. A popular writer and speaker for moms around the country, Alexandra has been featured on Good Morning America and Focus on the Family‘s daily broadcast. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Derek, and their four daughters.
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This book sounds wonderful and a companion to a book I am reading on finding joy around us in the ordinary. Looking this book up.
This book reminds me of what a man said to me once when I was lying in bed with a broken back. “You can’t wait until you have a dozen roses to enjoy life. Because rarely do you get all the flowers together. Often, they come one at a time and with time between each. It is only after looking back, that you realize you were given a dozen roses.” The same goes for goodness. It is interspersed with the hard and ordinary. But it is there, if we look.