Monday, March 14, 2011
Reviewed by Diane Busch
I call this a pleasant surprise book. I am not sure I would have chosen to read it, except that I was given an advance reading copy from WaterBrook. So I started to skim the book and found that I actually wanted to read it word for word. Readers with varying years of walking with Jesus will glean good nuggets from these pages. One main theme of the book is that Jesus wants us to be his friend (not just a worshipper; not just a worker; not just an admirer). Friendship is reciprocal.
Joanna also talks about our doubts that eat away at the bedrock of our faith, leaving us floundering, gasping for air as we try to keep our spiritual heads above water. We need to realize that some of life's greatest gifts come wrapped in disappointments. Faith is often learned in the crucible of pain. It must be difficult for our loving Father to hold back from constantly running to our rescue, yet in his merciful wisdom he does. God has always been more interested in shaping the character of his children than simply providing them comfort.
We need to learn to listen. We need to learn to discern his voice. Our heavenly father knows the best kind of communication flows out of a relationship. Anything less is just information. Since intimacy with us has always been God's goal, it makes sense that hearing His voice would be linked to that very thing. He wants us to lean in and listen carefully.
"If we want to hear from God, we must learn to respond to what He says. Obedience opens the ears of our hearts. The best way to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is to love the people who happen to be standing next to us."
"If we want to live resurrected and experience the exchanged life so many heroes of the faith describe, we must first get around to dying. Dying to ourselves until we're dead to the world. This may mean giving up our desire to direct our own lives; giving up our right to be treated fairly; giving up our need to be well thought of; or giving up our appetites for escape (food, television, books, movies, etc.)"
"It is the dark night's of our souls--in those deathlike, midnight places where nothing seems to be happening--that God often does His best work. Preparing our lives--so barren at the moment--for an even greater outpouring of life. For winter always precedes spring."
The final takeaway from the book is that God created us for eternity. We were not created for this earth alone but for an infinite future with God.