I thought I'd share a few snippets from the current books and the related impressions.
I am part of a book club which met last night. The book we discussed was "Left To Tell," an autobiography by Immaculee Illibagiza. It is the story of her discovery of God in the midst of the Rawanda genocide which resulted in the destruction of many of her people. She and eight other women were hidden away for ninety-one days in a bathroom the size of a small closet! Over and over men searched the building looking for her, in particular, with machetes in hand.
In spite of and maybe because of the topic it was a very uplifting, inspiring book. How is that possible? Immaculee's faith in the midst of her situation stirs the reader's heart. God honored and nurtured that faith.
In that bathroom Immaculee was engaged in an intense spiritual battle. She and the other women would hear the voices of those seeking to kill her or the voices of others outside the window speaking of the atrocities they had and would commit. The sounds of innocents dying were heard too; an elderly lady that was hacked to death; a baby, whose mother had been cut down, left to die by the side of the road.
She naturally hated those murderer and would ask God to kill them. However, as she would pray and ask God's protection, the enemy would point out her hypocrisy. How could she ask for God's protection when she harbored such hate in her own heart?
In time she released all she held in her heart to Papa. She would need to do that again.
Hers and Papa's relationship deepened and became more and more precious to her. Once released and out in the world, participating in life again, she would long for the solitude and intimacy of what she shared with Papa in that bathroom. Immaculee recognized the broader struggle that faces us in our desire to stay intimately connected with Papa while living in this world. She made the decision to seek God above all else and to keep her trust in Him alone. A decision that each one of us needs to make for ourselves. A decision that both Immaculee and we will need to make again and again.
I could write more, but want to leave the details for you to discover for yourself, should you decide to get this book.
Book number two is on CD, fourteen discs to be exact. It is "Great Expectations," by Charles Dickens. I love Dickens! Last year I picked up "A Tale of Two Cities" for a road trip. I couldn't believe that this was the book that had bored me in high school. Of course, "The Beatles" might have had something to do with it.....
Well, I am thoroughly enjoying the adventures of Pip! I love how Dickens turns a phrase. One grabbed a hold of me yesterday. Pip's new found friend, Herbert, was commenting upon Pip's Christian name of Philip. He decided he didn't like it, as it brought to mind the sort of person that he would not like as a friend. One of his comments was that he imagined that he would be the type of fellow that was
"so avaricious that he locked up his cake until the mice ate it."I have this thing about setting things aside to use for "special occasions." Who knows if we will ever have the opportunity to enjoy those particular occasions. To me it is a waste of the item!
I enjoy wearing rings. Much to the chagrin of a dear friend, who is also my jeweler, I wear everyone of them all the time. If the thing is too delicate to be worn every day, don't even think of giving it to me. It won't last. I will wear it out!
Years ago a man, who ministered in the remote area of Irian Jaya, Indonesian spoke at a conference I attended. He shared how he and his family had a lovely tea set, which they kept for special occasions. They kept it up on a high shelf to protect it. One day they were informed that they needed to get ready to be evacuated, as the political climate was worsening. They would be helicoptered out and could not take but one small bag each. They realized that they would have to leave their precious tea set. In the end they did not have to leave. Settling back in,the decision was made that they would bring that tea set down and use it in celebration to Jesus every day. I remember him raising the cup in his hand and saying "Here's to Jesus!"
That story resonated with me.
(I need to share something here). Matt and Mindy got a new kitten last night and I had kept her with me while I read and prayed, but have now entrusted her to Ray, as she was fascinated by the keyboard and was trying to add her own thoughts. Of course, they were in kitty language and totally indecipherable!
Okay, back to Dickens. I love how he not only develops his characters, but has no trouble allowing them to be perfectly flawed human beings. Not a one is left to appear above reproach. Even when the character is of a noble and pure heart we are still able to recognize their struggles and imperfections. I guess what I am saying is that Dickens truly and fully develops his characters. He is a master writer!
On to book number three! This one is by Beth Moore. I do believe I have mentioned it before, "Get out of that Pit." I had bought this book, along with several others when YWAM was having a fabulous book sale. I chose it because I have found that Beth always has something worthwhile to say, not because I felt any particular draw to the topic. However, it has become a great resource for my co-dependency group! Isn't Papa so wise and faithful?!
This book is chocked full of good insights. The bottom line of the message is do not let anything get in between you and God; when you are in close connection with Him, you will be free indeed! Before I can share anything it must first speak to me. We cannot impart truth which does not ring true in our own hearts.
Many pages are highlighted with all kinds of particulars, but that is for sharing with my group!
Lastly, we come to book four, "Barabbas," by Par Lagerkvist. It is a translation, as the original book was written in Swedish. It was written the year I was born, which has no significance to me, but just to say that it is not a modern writing. The author was an agnostic at one point in his life. I would be interested to know whether he remained so.
I first came across this book in my ninth grade English class. All I remember is that it had encouraged my faith. For quite a few years I have been meaning to find it and finally did so this week. It was in the Connecticut library system.
So far I have only read the first chapter, but would have gladly read more, if life had allowed. Barabbas was the one that the crowd chose to be freed instead of Jesus.
In the opening of the book Barabbas is stunned and confused to find himself free. After coming to himself he begins to follow "that man." That man was Jesus, the One who took his place. I find it interesting to view anything from a fresh perspective. Barabbas will be a fresh one for me.
So four books, four different topics, and four different authors; yet God has had His Hand on each one. I know He has something for me in each one; something to teach and shape me more into who He intends me to be. After all, He is the Master Character-Developer of all time!