While leading a team on a week-long trek of the Himalayas, bestselling author and pastor David Platt was stunned by the human needs he encountered, an experience so dramatic that it “changed the trajectory of my life.” Meeting a man who’d lost his eye from a simple infection and seeing the faces of girls stolen from their families and trafficked in the cities, along with other unforgettable encounters, opened his eyes to the people behind the statistics and compelled him to wrestle with his assumptions about faith. In Something Needs to Change, Platt invites readers to come along on both the adventure of the trek, as well as the adventure of seeking answers to tough questions like, “Where is God in the middle of suffering?” “What makes my religion any better than someone else’s religion?” and “What do I believe about eternal suffering?” Platt has crafted an irresistible message about what it means to give your life for the gospel–to finally stop talking about faith and truly start living it.
I received this book from the Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.
“It’s easier to stomach poverty as long as you just look at numbers on a page. The poor are easier to ignore if they’re a statistic. But everything changes when you know one of them. Everything changes when you spend time with one and then two days later he’s dead. Not only does he die, but he’s dead because he was poor.” -David Platt, Something Needs to Change
Last year, I read Radical by David Platt for the first time with my Bible Study group. I was inspired by that book and left with a challenge that has echoed through many decisions in my life since, but nothing like how this book just impacted me. Earlier this year, I received an email asking for my participation to vote on which cover I liked best for Platt’s upcoming release. I participated but also became so excited to read Something Needs to Change as soon as it came out (and yes, the cover I voted for won!). I wasn’t prepared for the heaviness of this book.
Something Needs to Change has given me 20/20 vision into how Christians ought to be living their lives. How I should be living my life. Even more so than Radical did, this book ignited a fire within me to move into my calling as the “hands and feet of Jesus”–in ways that are beyond giving “pennies” to a mission or simply attending Bible studies or church on Sundays. In this book, Platt causes his readers to feel exactly what broke him during his trek in the Himalayas and then creates a burning desire within his readers that makes them come to his same conclusion: “something needs to change“.
I cried in this book. I cried when Platt writes about his encounter with the man whose face is caving in after already losing an eye to an infection that could have easily been prevented here in America with a quick trip to the store and $20–if even that. I cried when he entered a village that had no girls because silver-tongued sex traffickers had convinced the entire village that their daughters were better off “working” in the city. This is not a book that gives the reader a pat on the back for going to church or giving $20 a month to a missionary; those ARE great things and a small step in the right direction, but this book will challenge you to be radical for Jesus.
A lot of us as Jesus-followers know our callings, but, for me at least, I would think about it but quickly think “later”, or “after college”, or “after I’m secure enough in my finances”. After reading Something Needs to Change, I agree with Platt, something– my heart, my attitude, my faith, my outlook on my role as a Christian in a lost world–something has got to change! We’re not guaranteed tomorrow, so why would I wait until “tomorrow” to begin what I should have done yesterday?
“They don’t need me, and other Christians, living as if somebody somewhere will do something someday about their urgent and spiritual and physical needs; they need me, and other Christians, living like this day could be their last.” -David Platt, Something Needs to Change
Platt wrote a book that is meant to change people, and it has everything packed inside to radically move any of his readers. But the choice to actually do something– to actually change something–that’s up to each individual. I’ve never read a book that hit me so hard–yet encouraged me so much– in all my life. I want to put this book into every person’s hands!
I will mention that Platt spares no details in his descriptions of the poverty he encounters. He does describe how the sex trafficking works in these villages. The death that results from diseases. The prosecution of Christians, the mistreatment of children with disabilities. It’s a heavy read, but it’s necessary.
“I really believe this book has missed the mark if your life ends up looking just like it did before you read it.” -David Platt, Something Needs to Change