Monday, January 26, 2015

The Grand Paradox

Formal Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Ken Wytsma/Thomas Nelson Publishing  in exchange for promotion and review.

I hate not knowing the future. Whether what is store for next week, next year, or next decade, I want to know. I realize part of this is my Asperger's and not liking surprises. However, it is also simply a part about being human and wanting to know what is coming at us. Unfortunately life is messy, confusing and even frustrating, but we are supposed to keep moving forward. In his second book, The Grand Paradox, Ken Wytsma explores the relationship between the unknowns of life and the mystery of our faith. Just as I fully recommended his first book, Pursuing Justice, likewise I encourage you to read this. Even more so do I want you to read this if you are currently being faced by multiple life changing decisions with no clear cut answer as Casey and I are. Wytsma deals with the tough issues in life and faith, such as doubting and being hurt by the church. However, unlike some Christian non-fiction which can be overbearing with theological language, Wytsma makes this easily accessible for all levels. I would love to quote the whole book at you, but my favorite section was near the end of the book, as he is speaking about endurance. He starts the section by discussing the difficulty of gardening in Oregon where he resides. Apparently it is similar to Albuquerque, where winter shifts quickly to summer, and spring is seemingly bypassed.

Having endured a cold season that made growth impossible, [the plants] have become strengthened and positioned for the rapid fulfillment of the role for which they were designed. Isn't this a picture of our lives? Our own seasons of dormancy can be used by God to strengthen our roots. Maybe the messy parts of our lives are not mere anomalies but are actually intended by God as part of our growth and maturity. We need to avoid obsessing about the challenges and obstacles we will surely face and focus instead on the opportunities for cultivation these challenges may present. (190-1)
I found this as encouragement as Casey and I are trying to decide where to move. We want to make sure we are making the best decision for our family and the Kingdom. In the end, we have realized that no matter where we go, we can be used by God so long as we make ourselves available. It may be to a place we've never been, or a place we don't have any friends or family. But the beauty of the Church is it's everywhere, and so we will always have family.

As always, thank you for journeying with us and I hope this book helps you on your journey.

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