The Wilting Rose Project

Book Review: Restoration Story by Robert Cheong

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About the Book

What unanswered questions do you have about your life? Some of us struggle to find meaning, others wonder about identity, and all of us want to be loved. Your story—the events and relationships that define you—will guide how you answer those questions. But God has a story too. His story is about sending Jesus to this broken world to mend all that is broken. Author Robert Cheong, a pastor and counselor, helps readers connect their story to God’s story which will transform how they live and love.

We all have our own back story—our sometimes unconscious beliefs—that have been shaped by our families, relationships, and life experiences. Our stories shape the personal narratives we live out: “I am not loved.” “No one cares for me.” “I have to be better than everyone around me.” “How I look is the most important thing about me.” Our back story guides us in how we relate to God and others. But are these beliefs true? And how are they affecting our lives today? Cheong helps readers unpack their story and learn to live out of God’s new story. Readers will discover how to retell their story out of who God is, what he’s done, and the call to love him and others.

Learn how the dynamics of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation shape our present struggles, confirm our future hope, and ensure our ability to live in God’s power today. At the intersection of God’s story and your own, you’ll find that his love sustains you in your weariness, guides you in your confusion, and comforts you in your suffering. The story of his love will compel you to live for him.

Find the book on Goodreads.

About the Author

Robert K. Cheong

Robert K. Cheong, PhD, serves as the Pastor of Care at Sojourn Church Midtown in Louisville, KY. He has a passion for helping the church to be confident in Jesus, and he is the executive director of Gospel Care Ministries, which trains leaders in churches, networks, and mission organizations. He is the author of God Redeeming His Bride: A Handbook for Church Discipline, Restore: Changing How We Live and Love, and Restoration Story: Why Jesus Matters in a Broken World. He enjoys life with his wife, Karen, their grown children, and their adorable grandchildren. 

Book Review Restoration Story Graphic 1

Recommended age: 16+
Genre: Christian living nonfiction


Our world is fundamentally broken. Evil, pain, and suffering are everywhere we look. Everyone is shaped by these harsh realities. How can a good God be over all this brokenness? How do Christians live their lives in these troubled times?

As we walk through life, things happen. Whether good or bad, our stories are shaped by our experiences and circumstances. Despite this, we aren’t victims of seemingly random circumstances.

“It’s good and right to have a full experience of what is going on in life, but these in-your-face realities can dominate our hearts and minds. They give us tunnel vision, where we cannot see anything else. It doesn’t take long for us to forget about our families amid deadlines. It doesn’t take long for chronic pain to define our lives. It doesn’t take long for grief and regret to consume and drown us in despair. So how are we supposed to live in this fallen, broken world? We need to understand there is more to our story than the most pressing and tangible realities.”

Restoration Story by Robert K. Cheong

God’s overarching redemption story guides and shapes our own personal stories, and the biblical themes of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation can redefine how we view them. In Restoration Story, Robert Cheong structures his chapters with these four themes. He masterfully walks through the biblical narrative and shows how God’s truths can shape and give a new life and perspective to our circumstances.

“But God’s story is not only true beyond our imagination, it is different from all other stories. It is a story not only to be told, but a story to be lived. It doesn’t just entertain us for a minute—it shapes how we live, how we love, and reveals to us God’s plan for us. God’s story reveals the most intimate relationship that we can ever know. Through our union with Christ, we can experience a perfect love that satisfies the deepest longings of our soul. It’s only through knowing God and his story that our distorted understandings of love and relationships can be untangled.”

Restoration Story by Robert K. Cheong
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Cheong weaves together the stories of four individuals throughout the book to show some of the tangible application of these spiritual truths. Emma and Steve walk through difficulties in their marriage and wrestle with the idea of reconciliation. Nikki works through the high expectations she has for herself and her work, as well as traumatic flashbacks. Mark struggles through overwhelming sin struggles and his relationship with God. The way that Cheong explores each individual’s circumstances and emotions, all the while relating their stories to theology and the hope we receive through God’s Word, is a true comfort for any reader.

“When you understand that other people face difficulties like yours—when you grasp the reality that you are not alone—you should feel some relief. Knowing that others experience life in comparable ways can help you believe you are not alone. Such knowledge counters the lies you may believe in your fears and despair—the lies that have convinced you that there is something wrong with you or that you are different from other people.”

Restoration Story by Robert K. Cheong

Why should we take a look back over our experiences? As Robert Cheong says, “Understanding your story matters.” Maybe some of you can relate to the fact that it just feels too painful or complicated to remember your past. Cheong, however, reminds us that,

“God is not inviting you to endless introspection, to reexperience your past, or to relive your pain. Instead, God wants you to know and experience his nearness and goodness in the seemingly insignificant parts of your story. He wants to show you his tenderness and power in the significant moments of your story. God delights in restoring broken souls.”

Restoration Story by Robert K. Cheong

One of the most important reasons to look back is to see God throughout your story. He was there in your darkest moments and your biggest triumphs. He held you during your deep pain and celebrated with you in your successes. As we witness Emma, Steve, Nikki, and Mark’s stories, Cheong shows us how valuable this kind of retrospection is, and how we can apply it to our own lives as a reminder of hope.

Restoration Story was incredible. Cheong’s theology is sound and laid out in a clear way. He first covers the overarching problems we face: sin, evil, suffering, and common struggles, and then brings us through the stories of four individuals to show us how their stories relate to God’s story of redemption. Cheong clearly related biblical truths and how our personal stories are also shaped by God’s work of restoration. Personally, I was very encouraged by the hopeful words reminding me of God’s love and redemptive plan. I was also challenged to take a look at my own past and story and what I believe about myself and my circumstances.

Content considerations: Brief mentions of sexual temptation and brokenness, an affair, and traumas/flashbacks.

Does this sound like a book you would read? What book have you read recently that encouraged and/or challenged you spiritually?

Comment below, Roses, and let’s uplift one another!

Review Written by:

Cat Thompson has always been encouraged by honest, hopeful words, and she hopes that her writing will encourage hurting Roses that they are not alone. Her aim is to bring hope and light into the dark and demonstrate God’s presence and healing power. She enjoys writing both nonfiction and fiction. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her hanging out with friends, reading, eating snacks, or drinking hot chocolate.

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