Book Review: Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors

Remember the book Kisses from Katie? It flew off Christian booksellers’ shelves a few years ago, when we discovered the story of this young world-changer who dropped everything in Tennessee to move to Uganda in pursuit of Jesus’ calling.

The book Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful is a continuation of that story of redemption. I am so, so, so thankful to be part of the team that’s had early access to this book to share it with others. Katie’s book has a beautiful message that I think will touch so many people–especially those who have experienced loss and struggle.

This book covers a lot of ground: Katie shares many stories from her time in Uganda, and she shares what God has been doing through her and her ministry, Amazima.

But Daring to Hope is mainly about a few specific themes:

This book is about hospitality.

And I don’t mean fancy dinner parties. In my exploration of what the church is (and isn’t) in the last several years, I’ve read and experienced hospitality so beautifully, and I love to see how well Katie exemplifies this beautiful gift. She welcomes people into her home so, so well: those who need long-term care or support, and those who just need a warm, soft place to be heard.

What I love about this book, though, is that she’s honest: “Loving people is hard. It brings us to the very end of ourselves. And as much as we are trained to avoid it, the end of ourselves is such a very sweet place to be” (49). With this beautiful dependence on Jesus, she walks with people through awful, difficult times in their lives, finding healing and hope simply in the presence of community.

This book is about loss.

It’s so hard to imagine everything that Katie has seen in her time in Uganda–she details some of the hardships in this book, but I won’t spoil them here.

But through it all, she writes with a deep understanding of who God is through her loss: “He wasn’t promising me a world without trouble, without heartbreak along the way. He was promising me Himself” (23). She’s developed the wisdom to see that in so many situations, He was present in the depths of her pain, and that is enough.

I think this book is important, then, for those who have experienced loss. Katie is so honest about it. There’s no doubt it’s been hard. But she also has learned who God is through the losses, and it’s these beautiful lessons that I’ve stored away in my heart to recall when (not if) life brings pain.

This book is about hope.

I resonated so deeply with Katie when she explained that she had arrived in Uganda with a reckless optimism, with no concept of the pain and loss she’d soon endure.

She writes, “Reality would shatter my optimism, but I would realize that it was only a cheap substitute for true hope anyway” (5).

As an optimist and a lover of beginnings and fresh starts, I too can lose myself in reckless optimism. But this book serves as a reminder that God is still on the throne, even during our struggles. In fact, He’s making our stories even more beautiful through pain:

“God kept reminding me that I wasn’t the writer of this story, and that when I tried to write all the endings, wrapping them up in a neat little package, I was diminishing who He was and all He could do” (24).

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This book is a sweet taste of God’s goodness and faithfulness in one corner of the world. It will refresh you and perhaps cause you to shift your perspective. I’m thankful I’ve read it, and it contains truths I will return to again and again.

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