Colliding With Destiny: Finding Hope In The Legacy Of Ruth
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.]
Occasionally I read a book that is so encouraging and appreciative that I keep around not merely out of a sense of obligation but also to re-read it later on. This book is such a book, and it is worth discussing briefly why that is the case for me. Part of the immense enjoyment of this book comes from the book’s content, which deals with the book of Ruth, a book that I have often mused on myself . I have come to realize that the book of Ruth represents a sort of personal wish fulfillment for both me and for the author of this book, in our shared experiences with each other and with Ruth of being a stranger and an outsider, of being burdened by a difficult personal past, of facing with openness and grim determination the difficulties of rumor and gossip and reputation, and of having loyalty to others and also a quest for love and family. The fact that I can relate to both the author and to Ruth in these matters gives the book a high degree of personal relevance, and makes the author’s encouragement all the more appreciated.
Sarah Jakes herself is the daughter of T.D. Jakes and Serita Jakes , leaders in the black church in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Another aspect of this book that makes it particularly encouraging and immensely worthwhile is the author’s transparency and honesty about her life and her struggles and what she has found encouragement in. Starting as a blogger lacking in self-confidence, the author was encouraged to write by another single mom she had befriended, J.K. Rowling. This book contains a great deal of personal struggles, including a teenage pregnancy, a marriage to an unfaithful football player that ended in divorce, her struggles with being gossiped about because her parents were high-profile ministers, and her own struggles to wrestle with her weight and to avoid depression and keep spending under control. These are all burdens many of us can identify with well, the concern that our broken lives and unpleasant personal histories will prevent us from being of use to God, or unworthy of God’s grace or the love and relationships that we seek. In her open honesty, the author encourages us all to openly detail our own struggles in journaling exercises at the end of every chapter.
Another aspect that makes this book particularly appealing is the fact that the book examines in detail the book of Ruth. The Book of Ruth is a novelistic story of three people: Ruth, her widowed mother-in-law Naomi, and the upright and noble bachelor Boaz, and it is a touching and gentle love story set in the time of the Judges with loving feminine touches, including the loyalty of Ruth and Noami to each other and the wisdom and savvy of Naomi in knowing how Ruth would be able to make her appeal to the rather shy and courtly Boaz. This particular book is organized in very short chapters that have a consistent and easy-to-understand pattern of organization. Each chapter begins with a quote, then shows a verse or longer passage of Ruth that relates to a theme, in order to where they are found in the book of Ruth, followed by a personal commentary on Ruth that looks at the author’s personal life as well the historical and cultural context of the Book of Ruth itself. Then there is a journaling exercise and a prayer at the end that seeks largely to encourage the reader of the book to trust in God’s providential care and gracious love. Consider that a mission succeeded, and a book that is targeted mostly to women, but with a far larger potential audience than that. Truly, there are many with broken relationships and deep wounds, and this book (and the Book of Ruth) serves as a great encouragement for those who have to deal with such personal brokenness and the unfriendly gossip of others about it. That is a wide potential audience that ought to greatly appreciate this deeply honest and heartfelt book.
 See, for example:
 Serita is an author I have read and reviewed before: