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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"Hope in Front of Me" (Danny Gokey with Ben Stroup)

TITLE: Hope in Front of Me: Find Purpose in Your Darkest Moments
AUTHOR: Danny Gokey (with Ben Stroup)
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2013, (208 pages).

His wife died unexpectedly without seeing him go on to the big stage. If he had pulled out of the competition, people would understand. How then did Danny Gokey overcome the height of all the odds and the depths of grief, to become a Top Three finalist on the popular TV show, American Idol in 2008? This book is an inner look on how Gokey finds hope amid emptiness and meaninglessness. His initial words say it all: "Hope means nothing - unless it's all you have."

When one is down and out, hope is the last gasp for fresh air, that last drop of water for parched lips; and the last parachute left when plunging into an abyss of uncertainty. He begins the book with a trip down memory lane, how he met his late wife Sophia, their dating relationships, the proposal, the wedding, and the new life together. Even then, the challenges of life soon took over. Financial struggles became even worse when he lost his job. His volunteer time in Church was no guarantee of any career in the music industry. Both Sophia and Danny were basically living more dark moments than bright. If that is not problematic enough, Sophia was diagnosed with a heart condition. From then on, the Gokeys struggled with even more uncertainty, with the medical factor a major one. Despite all the emergency prayers, vigils, accumulation of knowledge and faith about miracles, Sophia never did wake up from her last surgery. The rest of the book details how Danny was able to pick himself up each time he fell. Music started to take a life in Gokey's life. The song was no longer about words or melodies. It was about him entering into the music and making it his own story. Gokey learned several lessons of life, which I paraphrase as follows:

  • In order to move forward, one must learn to let go of the past.
  • The best place to start is where we are.
  • How we think affects how we live.
  • The more we recognize our own uniqueness, the more capable we are to see the beauty in others
  • Sometimes, we just have to swim under the darkest questions in order to come up to the brightest answers
  • Many good things are in front of us, if only we open our eyes and really see.
  • God has given us strength and we are strong enough to overcome what God has placed in front of us.
  • Looking outward to assist others will help us avoid depressing inward lives.
These and many more form the lessons behind the book. As I read the book, I can see the struggles of Gokey continue to play a big part in the shaping of his life. Going through the hard times of life can be very difficult. Those who fail to do so end up making bad decisions for themselves and their loved ones. Those who overcome will live to tell the world their story. This book is that story in which readers will find very encouraging. Gokey ends with some of his thoughts about his stint at American Idol. In fact, learning to grieve properly when one is under public eye is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges for anyone. 

Hope is real. Gokey knows it for he has lived it out. He learns that it is important to prepare for the unexpected. He realizes that it is important to have something to live for. He testifies of the need for community during times of need. Hope is very much in front of us, if only we can see it. Even if we do not see it, that does not mean hope is not there. That reminds me that hope is closely linked to faith we have on things that we do not see, and how hope is anchored on the love of God that we know is there. Always there.

Rating: 3.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of NavPress and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

1 comment:

  1. I finished reading the whole book, Hope In Front Of Me by Danny Gokey. Very encouraging, well-written and I think every reader can relate in their own ways. I highly recommend this book! Anyways, tears will fall while you read the book in a good way. ;-)