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Can God Be Trusted?: Finding Faith in Troubled Times Hardcover – October 13, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For his latest book, Williams, a Catholic priest and CBS Vatican analyst, gathered a team of researchers and asked people for their views on trusting God. He incorporates their responses—some in the form of breakout boxes—in what amounts to a gentle defense of God's trustworthiness. Adept at making the Christian faith accessible to general audiences, Williams looks at why trust in both God and people is important and why it is difficult, especially once lost. He examines how education, wealth, personal networks and ideologies compete with people's reliance on God and, in a section on God's Nonpromises, explains how trusting God doesn't necessarily result in perfect justice, explanations for why bad things happen, knowledge of what's coming and inner consolation. Williams also devotes a chapter to the need for balancing trust in God's care with personal responsibility and concludes by referring readers to the biblical book of Psalms, which he recommends as a resource for growing in trust through prayer. This is good reading for anyone who has asked the questions Williams poses. (Oct.)
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From the Inside Flap

If trust is essential to our relationship with other people, it is even more so with God. Without trust, we cannot take a single step forward in the spiritual life. Where habitual doubt and distrust make our spiritual lives stagnate, trust is the rich soil in which our spiritual lives flourish.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: FaithWords; 1 edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446515000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446515009
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,082,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

THOMAS D. WILLIAMS PhD is an internationally renowned Catholic Theologian, speaker and writer. He taught theology for more than a decade at at Rome's Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum where he served as Dean of the Theology School for 7 years. Dr. Williams is widely known for his on-air commentary and analysis for NBC, CBS News and Sky News in the UK. Dr. Williams is the author of fifteen books, and hundreds of articles. He lives in Rome with his wife and family.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Can God be trusted? The question posed in the title of this book can be answered with one word, namely, "Yes." There is no attempt by Dr. Williams to arrive at this answer by inductive reasoning, building laboriously chapter by chapter to a climax, until at last we learn the outcome of his query. Instead, we know from the Preface, even before reading the beginning sentence in the first chapter, that Fr. Williams' trust in God and Church is an affirmation that cannot be shaken.

This book grows out of an assumption about its readers. The author assumes that his readers want to believe that God can be trusted. But research reveals that not everyone shares Fr. Williams' assumptions and convictions. Consequently, this book tells the story, many stories actually, about the ups and downs of trusting and distrusting God.

The volume is filled with real-life answers to the question, "Can God be trusted?" Real people, it seems, cannot give a simple "Yes" or "No" in response to this question. Their answers are much more nuanced, often complicated by distressing experiences in their lives. For example, thirty-year-old Chantel answered, "I wish God would explain himself a little better. People tell me he knows what he is doing, but that isn't so clear to me." Twenty-six-year-old Sebastian responded, "I doubt very much that God exists. If he did, the world would be a nicer place. When I look around me, I don't see the hand of a loving God but chaos and confusion." Forty-year-old Jocelyn replied, "In theory I trust in God, but I can't say it comes through to my actions, decisions, or stress management skills."

Fr. Williams confronts his readers' doubts with cheerful good will and persuasive writing. He never rebukes or reprimands his readers for their unbelief.
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Format: Hardcover
With a title like Can God Be Trusted? (FaithWords/Hachette), I imagined the content of Father Thomas Williams' book could be summed up in four words: Yes. So do it. The plain white cover of the hardcover volume doesn't didn't do much to convince me that the book was going to be anything more than a restatement of those four words for 206 long pages.

My first impressions were wrong. Williams, a professor of theology at Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome and a Vatican analyst for CBS News, offers a gentle, accessible and thorough exploration of the nature of trust in this volume. Penned for a popular audience, Williams tackles topics including the downside of distrust, God's rivals for our trust, what to do when God lets you down, and God's trust in us. Williams explains, "...we are not called to diminish our desires, but to enlarge them. In the end, we need to be more audacious with God, not less. We need to think big, bigger than we ever have before. Strange as it may seem, we always expect too little of God, and never too much."

I struggle to trust God and other people. My once-childlike trust in God has been enclosed in thick layers of callouses in order to protect myself from further hurt. Williams' kind, encouraging pastoral voice and an approach that was both intelligent and simple had a healing effect on me as I read. Can God Be Trusted? is a very worthwhile read for anyone who is weary of the weight of their own callouses. Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
A catchy title is a wonderful beginning for a book. This one is ideal. Don't we all wonder at one point or another in our lives if God can be trusted?

When I picked this book up and started reading it, I was fascinated by the author - an American priest who is a Vatican analyst for several news organizations. "He must have a lot to say that will be enlightening for me," I thought. Faith is an important part of my life. I am always anxious to understand new ways of looking at issues that impact our walking around lives, as opposed to theoretical comments that are like shibboleths having no practical application.

Can GOD be Trusted faithfully addresses all of the themes that would be expected to enable readers to reach their own conclusion. I assumed that the author would come to the conclusion that God can be trusted.

Father Williams begins with a framework for his discourse that is thought-provoking:

The one who expects nothing can never be let down. Hope and trust are scary things. We risk betrayal and disappointment. We risk abandonment and disillusion. It is much safer to hope for nothing, desire nothing, aspire to nothing


To love is to expose yourself, make yourself vulnerable, give of yourself, set yourself up for a fall.

Isn't that the essence of belief in God, regardless of the religion or prophet that one follows? Hope, trust, faith, and love.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a gently written book, that seeks to comfort and encourage the weary and troubled soul. Without appearing pompous or proud, the author starts not from an ivory-tower like arrogance, but as a fellow human person. Firm in his own faith, he carefully dislodges the impediments of faith, to clear the way toward trust in God.

Williams highlights 5 major competitors to trust in God. They are education, wealth, our social networks, our self-ingenuity, our ideologies. The book is filled with quotes and personal sharing from different people Williams encountered. They make the book very down-to-earth and personally relevant to the layperson. Simple, and devoid of theological jargon, it should provide the general reader an easy and comfortable read. The exhortation to faith is gently applied, leaving room for the reader to step back and reflect upon their own beliefs and doubts. It is not a book that argues on a blow by blow account, but one that appears to walk alongside the person struggling with trust. It should appeal widely to those finding the need to discover fresh faith in a troubled era. If you are looking for a less academic treatment of the topic of faith amid tough times, this is the book.

My main gripe with this book is that it gives a excessive weightage on the 'rightness' of humans over the 'rightness' of God. In other words, it practically assumes that the feelings of the respondents over their disappointments in God are 'correct' in the first place. I make a distinction between recognizing the sinfulness of men and the need to understand/tolerate our differences. Whatever it is, sin is not something to be downplayed.
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