Monday, April 22, 2013

Obedience can be difficult. A review of "Sent" by Hilary Alan

Obedience is sometimes hard, and when God has plans for you that don’t make sense, it’s even harder. But, as Hilary Alan’s family finds out, being obedient to God brings its own set of blessings, blessings beyond anything you might have dreamed of if you were content to follow your own roadmap to success.  You’ll read their story in Sent: How One Ordinary Family Traded the American Dream for God’s Greater Purpose (Hilary Alan, WaterBrook Press, 2013).
Let me get this out of the way early, I didn’t enjoy reading this book, but I’m still rating it 5/5. I usually don’t like reading books that elicit tears; but instead of blatant sensationalism designed to cause an emotional response the author manages to portray raw emotion, not for effect but as a part of the story.  I also don’t like books that remind me of how far I am from where God wants me to be when it comes to obedience.  This book manages to do both of those things.  And that’s why I didn’t like reading it.  That’s also why it deserves a high rating.
At first glance, this is a simple account of a family who is led to follow where Jesus leads. The author has done a great job of chronicling events without bringing in ‘maudlin’.  This is a story of people who make the leap from sitting in the pews to being the church, to picking up their cross to follow Jesus.
The Alan’s story is typical up to a point: following the road to success and making time to do church on Sunday. But things start to get interesting and atypical when a tsunami on the other side of the world happens, and there is an available heart ready to respond to God’s call. Hilary describes with a rare honesty some of the questions they had before answering God’s call, some of the ‘reasons’ they had for not being able to go, and how God worked things out so that His plans for the Alan family would be accomplished.
Obedience looks like this: “Despite all the opposition and obstacles, walking forward in obedience was easy for us, simply because we believe that all of God’s promises are true. And through it all, God was whispering, “Just trust Me. I know what I’m doing.
I’m praying that as a result of reading this book, I’ll grow in obedience. My call may not be to rebuild after a tsunami, but God wants me to be available to go wherever He calls me to go.

The publishers were kind enough to send me a copy of this book in exchange for a review. 

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