When I saw it was using the Biblical book of Ruth to make his points, I was a bit skeptical as I had never heard Ruth taught in this way, but I enjoyed his insights and how he wove practical application into this book while providing examples from the Bible.
It is the rare person who hasn't had some major loss or hurt in life, so this is a book for everyone. Each one of us has reason to do as Naomi did and asked to be called Mara. (In the Hebrew this means bitter.) We can take a look at our lives, the broken pieces, the shattered dreams, and the disappointments and say “My life is a mess. Nothing will ever improve.” and eventually become bitter ourselves.
But what happens when we allow God to write the story of our lives? Is there ever a way He can take those things that haunt us and still feel like there's a knife going through our heart when we remember them – can those things ever work out so we see a purpose in them? Absolutely yes. (Although there may still be consequences of our sin or the sin of others, it is possible for God to redeem those things into something for His purpose.)
In this book, Schaeffer leads us through character strengths and weaknesses, bad decisions, desires that are changed and how Naomi is restored. When something is restored, it may not be exactly the way it was before, but is beautiful and of value. He gives an example of a table he found at a garage sale that was stained and in overall poor condition. Schaeffer took the time to sand the table, tighten up the hinges, and stain it until it's a beautiful piece he can proudly display. As was done with Naomi, that very same restoration can take place in us.
It may not be easy. We're broken people in search of a Holy God who takes us and uses His word, circumstances, and others to shape us into something of worth. My favorite passage in the book is on page 66:
“When we look for friendships, we usually search for people who are like us, but God doesn't. We want people who have the same kind of spiritual or emotional holes that we have in our lives but God wants to bring us godly examples who compliment us and help repair us.”
This reminds me of some of my friends. Some of them are as different from me as can be, sometimes annoy me to no end, but they push me along in areas that I otherwise wouldn't want to pursue.
I think any Christian could benefit from reading this book, and I have good news. I contacted the publisher, and Discovery House is going to give a copy of this book away to one of my blog readers!
If you don't want to wait to see if you win, however, you can purchase the book here.
Basic giveaway information: I will pick a winner using random.org at 11:59 on July 18, so please get your entries in before then. Winner will be notified and have 48 hours to respond to the e-mail or another winner will be chosen. Also be sure and leave a comment for EACH entry you do.
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