The Reluctant Journey: Fulfilling God’s Purpose For You, by Richard Leslie Parrott
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]
This was a book that in some ways was easy to read and in other ways was not easy to read. Although I am not at all familiar with the author, from the crisp style of prose and the ease the author has making references to contemporary Bible translations as well as stories about his instruction in business leadership, the fact that this book draws upon a life of study as well as experience is obvious. That said, because of its contents this book was somewhat painful to read because a lot of it hit very close to home in very personal ways. Given the fact that this particular book focuses on three generations of Genesis’ contender for best dysfunctional family of the Bible, it is perhaps inevitable that I would find a lot to be personally relatable, but this book goes above and beyond even those expectations.
This book is a look at three reluctant journeys of faith modeled by three members of the patriarchal family: Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph. The first path, that of Abraham, is the path of homelessness, of not belonging, of being a vagabond on the face of this earth. It is little wonder that this particular path mirrors my own . The second path, that of Jacob, is the path of wounds, by which we build a relationship with God through wrestling with Him and being deeply wounded by the experience. Again, my own personal experience of the deep wounds of abuse is not anything I feel it necessary to comment upon for anyone who has read my writings. The third path, the path of wisdom, is also one of painful personal relevance, with its focus on dreams and false accusations and moral conduct in difficult times and situations and the knowledge that God has some plan even if how it works out is anything but obvious. Obviously, this path is one I can personally relate to as well. The complexity of this book, and its focus on the dynamics of dysfunctional families and institutions is one that puts light on a lot of areas of my own life that cause me particularly difficulty. No doubt this would be true of many others as well.
At its heart, the real strength of this book is in the way that the book examines the reluctance of people to journey with God because He is always bringing trouble into our lives, seeking to align this world with His, and seeking to build in us godly character. The fact that God chooses difficult people to work with means that the task of building godly character and godly relationships in a fallen world full of broken people is a horribly difficult task. The wonder is that He loves us enough even to undertake this task of wishing to partner with us and work in our lives knowing how harrowing of a task it is. God clearly likes a challenge. This book does not in any way shy away from this challenge, and points over and over again to the fact that committing to follow God will bring trouble into our lives, and that we should expect this trouble rather than being blindsided by it. This is not to say that the book is perfect–it is flawed in its discussion of a nonexistent Trinity, a seemingly obligatory area of commentary for many writers, as well as in the fact that it strongly favors translations that add words and that therefore shift understanding of passages in profound ways. Nevertheless, the larger points of this book are very sound and it is a book that ought to provoke a great deal of thought in its readers, even if those thoughts are not always pleasant.
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