Shameless Peristence: Lessons From A Modern Miracle, by Sandra Bretting
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Adams PR Group. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
A large number of Americans believe in miracles and one of my own personal favorite ways of getting to know people better is to listen to them talk about stories of divine intervention in their lives, cases where something bad looked like it was certain and then for no logical reason a positive outcome came about from it. This particular book gives a look at the author’s own personal experiences with a dangerous and potentially fatal (and obscure to boot) illness and the healing she found from it when she had turned to God in prayer in absence of other options. The author expresses her increased faith and a desire to use her experience as a way of helping to inspire other people, and while this is definitely a noble goal, I tend to wonder how much it is possible for the experiences of others to be a firm encouragement to our own faith. If even our own experiences are not always enough for us to come to an understanding of God’s goodwill and positive plans for us, the written experiences of others will have even less of an influence on many people.
This book is a short one of about 100 pages and it is divided into two parts and various short and unnumbered chapters. The first part of the book takes up about a quarter of the space and it talks about the author’s own story, beginning with a trip to the hospital and then finding her health going from bad to worse until she received a virtual death sentence from her doctors. After that the author transitions from telling her personal story to discussing how the story might relate to the reader. She talks about how our own experiences can be the source of a passionate prayer life as well as what prayer isn’t and how to deal with the answers that God gives to prayers. There are also chapters about preparing our heart as well as preparing others for our prayers and a discussion of unseen miracles before the author closes with some endnotes and a discussion of some special prayers that one can make for special times.
Nevertheless, although I do not think that this sort of book is necessarily the most compelling for reading for everyone, I can very easily understand why it is that the author felt it necessary to write this book. When God works dramatically in our lives it is natural to want to tell other people about it. In former days this would have been the sort of story we would share over long hours during and after dinner while fellowshipping with brethren and socializing with friends, but in our age of frequent memoir-writing and greater isolation it is natural that this is the sort of experience that would motivate the author to want to write a book about it to help her make sense of the experience and to share it with people who would not be able to hear it from her. And this is certainly a book that I appreciated reading. It was easy for me at least to see why the writer was so passionate about expressing the lessons she learned from God healing her from progressive organ failure, and I can find it heartwarming and inspirational that a perfect stranger to me who has hardly any common acquaintances would wish to share her own personal story and what she drew from it.