Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Reason - Deeply Moving and Thought Provoking

In a small Michigan town an enigmatic stranger appears.   Kind, compassionate, and way too insightful…he can look inside a person’s heart, see the history of hurt and, speaking a few words, hold out hope of something better.  Oh, and did I mention the miracles?  Oh yeah, he does those too.

Now before you roll your eyes and determine this is yet another modern-day, stonewashed jean-clad-hipster-Jesus novel, please hold your judgment.   The Reason, by William Sirls is much more than that.  Sure, it doesn’t take reading more than a few pages to realize who the drifter is, but he’s not the center of this story.  Faith is, or more specifically, what it means to “Believe”.

Pastor Jim and his wife Shirley love God, although they are a bit weary keeping a church going that has seen better days.  Their joy is evident even though Jim is blind and they are taking care of their mentally challenged adult son.  But they love the Lord, trust Him and proclaim his faithfulness even under the most dire of circumstances.

 Under Pastor’s care are Brooke and her five-year-old son Alex. Brooke moved in with Jim and Shirley a few years earlier when she was going through a difficult time in her life.  A fairly new believer, she is finally piecing her life, and her faith, back together only to discover that her son has cancer.

Doctors Macey Lewis and Zach Harmon are determined to see Alex through, but they are facing some spiritual issues of their own that the mysterious stranger is going to make each of them confront, even if it means digging up a past that is too painful to bear.

Sirls has populated his novel with authentic characters – solid believers who press on, followers who are struggling with what to believe, and those who think this whole God thing is a crock – all wrestling with belief at one stage or another

Alex’s cancer is the impetus for a lot of soul searching and not just within the characters.  Sirls forces readers to ask themselves “What does it really mean when God asks us to only believe?”.

The Reason is a complex novel holding up the subjects of faith and God’s love and looking at them from various angles.

Yes, the definition of faith is on the line here between the pages of this book.  Can it be that if we have enough faith that the tide can turn in our favor?  Or are we placing our faith in the wrong thing?  Should our faith be in the gift or the Giver, the miracle or the Miracle Maker? 

And is it possible to hear from God and yet totally misinterpret His message?  When bad things happen to good people, is it a sign of weak faith or an opportunity to trust in someone bigger than the situation?  
And when life falls apart, does God really love us?

Sirls’ The Reason is encouraging, inspiring, and challenging – and it’s a good read. And when choosing a book, who needs a better reason than that?

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