I just finished one of the most enjoyable novels I’ve read in a while. I was sitting bored in Barnes and Noble. I had just finished reading Finally Free and was itching for some good fiction. I tweeted asking for some good recommendation and received one Peace Like a River by Leif Enger.
You may have noticed Leif being utilized on my twitter feed and on my blog recently. So much rich truth. So much hauntingly beautiful imagery. I want to make a single point and I hope I don’t give too much of the book away. If you plan on reading it and are squeamish reading on my spoil it. Stop. Bookmark. Read. Return.
If not, here’s the final sentences of the book:
Then I breathe deeply, and certainty enters into me like a light, like a piece of science, and curious music seems to hum inside of my fingers.
Is there a single person on whom I can press belief?
All I can do is say, Here’s how it went. Here’s what I saw. I’ve been there and am going back.
Make of it what you will.
These words will become even more beautiful after you read the book (you are going to read it, aren’t you?). Without giving much away. Let’s just say the narrator has received new life in the form of a miraculous recovery from ailing lungs. He receives this miracle in such a way that hardly anyone would believe it--except for the fact that he can breath. He’s alive.
There’s something there, isn’t there? Doesn’t life from the Spirit happen in that same way? I was staggering along as the walking dead. The Spirit breathes new life into me and I’m changed in a moment.
When my faith was faltering and I was running from God not many people would’ve believed I could change. From an earthly perspective, it may have seemed impossible that someone so “sinful” could have new life. There may be some who are skeptical of you. They know the stink of your former life. Don’t many of us have that stink? Don’t many of us have those people? The people that know your stink. And they’re skeptical of your faith because of it.
It may be easy to become frustrated with those people. To become preachy with those people. But I wonder in sharing our faith, in speaking of our new life, if it’s better to just say, “All I can do is say, Here’s how it went. Here’s what I saw. I’ve been there and am going back. Make of it what you will.”
At least until they do make of it what they will.
Sometimes (much of the time?) God chooses the wicked of the world to build his kingdom. Make of that what you will.
Sometimes there’s no other explanation for how someone with so much stink seemingly has new life (Exhibit A: the Apostle Paul). We were dead and now we live. We were sinners of the worst kind. We were far from God. But he drew near us and knew us.
Don’t let the story of God’s grace in your own life go to waste. Tell it like there’s no other way. Give um a gordian knot. Something only God unties.