When you’re in between two points – a sure thing that was and an unknown place in the future – the waiting is tough.
Depending on your circumstances, “tough” might be a drastic understatement.
In her new nonfiction book, Victim of Grace: When God’s Goodness Prevails, Robin Jones Gunn expresses her own journeys in waiting and faith during the in-betweens.
This book is founded on John 1:16: “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (ESV).
A small anecdote on the opening page sets the tone for the book:
In those first five lines, we can all feel some relation to those words. At first reading, perhaps you think of some troubling event, an undeserved turn, a wrongdoing. I’ve felt that in the past; have you? Why? I never asked. What did I do wrong?
But, then that sixth line hits: “God pours out His love on me.”
Oh. Not a wrongdoing at all. But a marvelous, the most magnificent kindness and action of love.
Yes, I never deserved God’s love, either.
What a perspective-changer.
And that’s what Robin Jones Gunn does throughout the whole book. We often have plans or ideas for ourselves in our years. Sometimes answers come immediately, sometimes they take years, sometimes answers never come (in the way we imagine them).
But, God is here. God often provides in ways we never would have conjured ourselves.
It’s only now, years after I came to the faith, that I can now look back and see the little sparks of light God put in my path through His people showing true kindness.
It was only months after I didn’t get a part-time job I thought I needed that I realized not getting that job was better because my son was hospitalized twice in 5 months. I was able to be there with him (which I would have been regardless) without having to think about work during those stays.
I learned sign language back in 4th grade (then a bit more in college), and it was only after my son’s special needs were realized that I now see God knew what He was doing to prepare me for having a child who cannot communicate verbally.
In all of these instances, God poured out constant love and provision (even in those times I felt lacking) on me, a victim of His grace.
The author’s storytelling skills surface in image-filled phrases of emotions and scenes. She shares this book’s purpose on page 15:
“I wondered what it would look like if I gathered up my free-fall stories and strung them together side-by-side with stories of some of the women in the Bible. What if I shared…the uncomfortable parts of the journey as well as the beauty of what happens when God’s goodness prevails?” (p. 15)
She relays quite a few amazing experiences (a Bible smuggler, broken engagement, numerous moves) along with some rough times, and tells nearly the entire book in story form, whether it’s her own stories or stories from the Bible. This way of writing made the book a much faster read.
Each chapter begins with a personal story and then includes a “A Kindred Victim of Grace” section where she retells a biblical woman’s story. The connections she felt between her own circumstances and biblical events offer some unique perspectives and renewing thoughts that many readers should be able to relate to. One of the strongest threads woven through this book reveals itself in God’s way of bringing so many instances “full circle,” and the author highlights this even in how she organizes the book.
Entertaining and enlightening, I recommend Victim of Grace as a good read.
How have you experienced God’s abundant grace?
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free from the BookSneeze program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.