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Friday, July 22, 2005

Safely Home

Is this the day I die?

Every now and then you read a book that really stays with you. By that I mean that it crosses your mind often during the day, causes you to think of and view certain things differently, and in rare instances, causes changes in your life itself.

Once upon a time, I read a book called Watchers by Dean Koontz. This is still on my list of favorites. I read it when I was not a child of God, and re-read it often, as recently as two years ago. This was a story of genetic engineering...gone bad. But that which stayed with me and acheived two of the three effects listed above was the good achieved by genetic engineering in the book. The dog, rather than the monster captured my heart. (The first time I read the book after becoming a Christian, I was astonished by what I previous read that did not even cause me to blink. The same could be said of another book by another author, WeaveWorld, which now nearly makes me ill to attempt to read.) When I looked at dogs, I marveled that they might be like Einstein in the book, if only... I recommended that book to everyone, and even bought one for my mother to read on the plane after visiting us from Connecticut, after my first daughter was born.

Few books hold me like that: Watchers, When the Wind Blows (James Patterson) and Spares (author unknown).

After reading Watchers, I read Dean Koontz books almost continuously, pausing only to get a college degree, give birth and read an occasional Stephen King book. None of the subsequent Koontz novels matched my expectations. The same thing happened when I read When the Wind Blows, however, it didn't take me as long to discover that that book was an exception in that author's repretoire.

I can't remember who wrote Spares, but that book was too disturbing to seek another such experience. It gripped me because of the subject matter: Cloning? No, but the humanity and sanctity of life of even the clones ("spares") who were "created" for the express purpose of providing spare parts for their original counterpart.

Pilgrim's Progress is also a book which had a profound effect on me as a new Christian and throughout my Christian walk. It was amazing to me that someone could write that stuff down like that! All of those things that I experienced, and was to experience; it is an encouragement and a challenge to me.

Recently, as already mentioned in a previous post, I read Hiding Place. Now we are getting into the realm of reaching the third effect of a really good book. The idea that a book could be used to change one's life is awesome. Corrie Ten Boom's book, I hope is the start of some changes that God is working in my life. Corrie's Dad and sister attributed everything that happened as coming from the loving hand of their Father. Her Dad thought and spoke biblically. He had an answer in and out of season. I often call this to mind and speak of His attributes and providence, especially to my family (my given mission field).

I recently finished a novel that is, I think God's reenforcement of the concept. Safely Home by Randy Alcorn is a novel about a Christian in China and his college roommate who comes to visit. The reverence that this Christian gave to Yesu (Jesus) shames me. I want to live for Jesus with abandon. I want to speak openly about Jesus and trust God to protect me or bring me home; provide for me or sustain me in want; grow the sown seed or allow the birds to snatch it away.

We have been talking alot about evangelism in our church lately. My Bible Study partner and I recently studied Mark 3 & 4. Jesus told the story of the sower who sowed seed, and some seed was eaten by birds, choked out by thorns, withered under the sun, or took root and produced a bountiful harvest.

When I plant in my garden, I plant a limited number of seeds, and I plant them in rows, exactly where I want them to grow. When I talk about Jesus and His Gospel, I do the same thing. I plant the seed in toiled soil, my family, my church, even my neighbor, because she likes to talk about God. Even so, once planted, the seed may be snatched away by birds, choked out by weeds, or scorched by the sun; in fact from my point of view, this is the usual result.

My point: If the seed planted in tilled soil grows at the will of God, then why be stingy? Why not broadast the seed like the sower in the story? Why not just toss some around where ever I go?

This is a digression of sorts, but I got there honestly: The character in the book by Randy Alcorn spoke of his Lord in and out of season. He lived in a hostile environment, and yet he sowed the seed freely in tilled soil and otherwise. Mr Ten Boom was the same.

I am not.

I want to be.