Friday, December 28, 2012

A Sudden Glory: Book Review

How does God pursue us? How does he lavish His love on us? How can we feel His presence? What does it mean to abide in Christ?

Pick up the nearest Christian book catalogue, and you will find plenty of authors to explain their improved study techniques, their ideas for increasing your involvement, their ways to improve your prayer life, and so many other keys to changing your life. All of them, of course, want you to do something or change something about how you approach life. And if it sounds too intimidating to do all that? Don’t worry! There’s always another, more enlightening book on time management techniques…

I’ve had my share of busyness and failed goals over the years. I’ve had joys, letdowns, and plenty of opportunities to feel that I should be doing something more. I'm also—in spite of goals and busyness—rather inclined to distrust people who say you or I must do thus and such in order to achieve some higher level of spiritual knowledge.

Thus, I was intrigued recently to find a very active, very involved conference speaker, ministry leader, and women’s author who thinks that we just might be trying too hard.

In A Sudden Glory, Sharon Jaynes argues that we’ve got the wrong picture—we have projects and goals and lists and agendas all designed to move us closer to God. We might know we can’t actually reach God through our own efforts, but we live as though we can. We check all the little commands off and worry about weekly Bible studies, church programs, and daily devotionals, while forgetting God’s call for us to be still and just spend time with Him. According to Jaynes, we’ve forgotten how to stop.

This isn’t a book to be read in one sitting—I’ve sat down with it a couple times so far, and I suspect it will take a couple more times to get through everything Jaynes has to say. This is, however, a timely reminder for just about any stage of life. A Sudden Glory shows much about what it means to trust God, to raise our expectations in light of God’s power, and to choose intimacy over routine. And, I would recommend the book just for the stories Jaynes shares of her own encounters with God along the way, as well as the reminders of His incredible glory.

Most importantly, Jaynes calls for us to be more aware of God’s glory in our lives and in the world around us. For Jaynes, a sunbeam at dawn becomes an image of God’s face shining upon her. A lesson on ballroom dance with her husband becomes a lesson on trusting God’s leading in life’s surprises. And, in her first chapter here, a few minutes of silence away from busyness become a lesson in being still and knowing God.

You can find out more about Sharon Jaynes on her website or through Waterbrooks Multnomah.

[My thanks to Waterbook Multnomah for sending me a free review copy of A Sudden Glory in exchange for my honest opinion of the book.]

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