Review of “Reckless Faith” by Beth Guckenberger

Reckless Abandon. To act without any regard for consequences. I heard this term for the first time when my husband defined this as an investment firm’s unscrupulous practice of telling the potential customer what he or she wanted to hear in an effort to collect as much money as possible from the client, layered with promises made in paradise. Many trusty clients lured into this trap were alarmed to find out days, weeks, or even months later that there was no increase or return of their original investment. In Beth Guckenberger’s “Reckless Faith,” reckless-ness is portrayed as a measure of our unadulterated faith in God’s promises. She recalls how she and her husband Todd reckless abandoned their comfortable lifestyle to fulfill the call from God to care for the orphans in Mexico. This initial act of reckless faith has been the precursor to many more deliberate acts of kindnesses the Guckenbergers have extended to the “…fatherless who had none to help him” (Job 29:12).

As she recounts stories of the caregivers and children encountered in the orphanages and how their needs were often miraculously met, the definition and demonstration of reckless faith is unfolded again and again. You’ll read how Beth is used by God to match Joel, the director of a home whose 50+ children prayed for a meal that would include meat that night with a meat vendor who is looking for a place to donate his remaining samples of meat that same evening. This experience takes her to a higher level in thinking about our God who not only “shows up—but shows off” as well. The narrative of Carolina and Lupita’s adoption by the Guckenbergers after a 10-year wait also provides a picturesque view of the depth and width of their faith in God. She declares, “Never again will I offer up an explanation that spins God as weak or passive. If God doesn’t come through in the way I want him to, it should expand my view of faith, not shrink it.”

One can surmise that is “only God who could have orchestrated” a couple to lead the drug-addicted mother who abandoned her child because he was developmentally-delayed to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. God’s forgiveness to this mother is symbolic of the parents’ forgiveness to her for deserting the child they have now adopted. The events of how reckless faith moved Beth from criticism of this mother’s actions to crusading for her soul’s salvation are also outlined in detail. The struggles of Isaac are revealed. His story takes you from his humble beginnings to his hard decision to walk into a high school classroom as an 18-year-old to obtain a high school diploma, and despite the odds, eventually earn a degree at the prestigious Design and Innovation institution, Centro de Estudios Superiores de Diseño de Monterrey, (CEDIM), of Monterrey, Mexico.

Beth’s explanation of “Reckless Faith” does not always have a happy ending, however, as in the cases of Maria and Adriana, two beautiful young ladies with bright minds and great promise but troubled lifestyles, one to follow the man of her dreams who makes her prostitute for a living and the other who becomes delusional and eventually schizophrenic. In contrast to these stories, Beth brings to light how God’s saving grace became more real (and reckless) in her adolescence as Beth’s father used a cow pasture to illustrate God’s purpose for her life and also how her father provided a “private donation” to ship boxes of clothing to Nicaragua after she received an unexpected overwhelming response from the community to help in this her first missionary effort.

Several more stories follow. Early events surrounding the Guckenberger’s first adoptee, Evan, are described in detail including the threat they faced of losing him when they hear news of a baby smuggling ring, and moreover how their reckless faith was tested as they believed for his healing from cerebral palsy. Mamá Martha of the Monterrey community is also featured as one who characterizes as the Martha of the New Testament times, working industriously with the over 100 children that have been cared for in her home for about ten years.

As teenage twins Marlene and Marilin join the Guckenberger’s family, Todd and Beth acknowledges their inexperience of raising two children who have had 15 years of growth experiences outside of their household. They pondered over questions such as “What should we allow? What should we share? What things should we force them to do and which should we let go?” She shares how they relied on prayer and God’s promise to restore that which the locus had eaten in their many years of orphanage care, “metaphorical locusts…of abuse and neglect, of lies and all other activities that the Enemy uses to diminish God’s glory.” The Guckenberger’s “locust repellent” of sharing God’s truths has increased the twins’ understanding and appreciation of their own valuableness and giftedness and God’s faithfulness towards them.

The last story is reflective of God’s reckless love towards us. Rejected at birth, Meme has served as servant from her youth and volunteers to stay in a squatter village for more than twenty years now so that she is near those who she regularly shares the gospel of Christ. The examples of Meme’s ministry leads Beth to proclaim that “ministry is not just your ‘day job.’ I find that I’m tempted to categorize my life into ‘ministry time’ and everything else. Sharing my life with Meme has taught me that all my moments can be ministry—eating, cooking, washing, watching children, anything I do beside someone else, for someone else, and with someone else. I’m trying to make ministry and breathing and walking in the Spirit all the same action.” In other words, it is our Christian duty to reflect our faith to others with reckless abandon, without concern for consequences, for He has commissioned us to “preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent [us] to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18). This indeed includes caring for the orphans.