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Friday, March 8, 2013

Ordinary Grace

"It isn't Easter," he said, "but this week has caused me to think a lot about the Easter story. Not the glorious resurrection that we celebrate on Easter Sunday but the darkness that came before. I know of no darker moment in the Bible than the moment Jesus in his agony on the cross cried out, 'Father, why have you forsaken me?' Darker even than his death not long after because in death Jesus at last gave himself over fully to the divine will of God. But in that moment of his bitter railing he must have felt betrayed and completely abandoned by his father, a father he'd always believed loved him deeply and absolutely. How terrible that must have been and how alone he must have felt. In dying all was revealed to him, but alive Jesus like us saw with mortal eyes, felt the pain of mortal flesh, and knew the confusion of imperfect mortal understanding.

"I see with mortal eyes. My mortal heart this morning is breaking. And I do not understand.

I confess that I have cried out to God, 'Why have you forsaken me?'"

Here my father paused and I thought he could not continue. But after a long moment he seemed to gather himself and went on.

"When we feel abandoned, alone, and lost, what's left to us? What do I have, what do you have, what do any of us have left except the overpowering temptation to rail against God and to blame him for the dark night into which he's led us, to blame him for our misery, to blame him and cry out against him for not caring? What's left to us when that which we love most has been taken?

"I will tell you what's left, three profound blessings. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul tells us exactly what they are: faith, hope, and love. These gifts, which are the foundation of eternity, God has given to us and he's given us complete control over them. Even in the darkest night it's still within our power to hold to faith. We can still embrace hope. And although we may ourselves feel unloved we can still stand steadfast in our love for others and for God. All this is in our control. God gave us these gifts and he does not take them back. It is we who choose to discard them. 

"In your dark night, I urge you to hold to your faith, to embrace hope, and to bear your love before you like a burning candle, for I promise that it will light your way.

And whether you believe in miracles or not, I can guarantee that you will experience one. It may not be the miracle you've prayed for. God probably won't undo what's been done. The miracle is this: that you will rise in the morning and be able to see again the startling beauty of the day.

Jesus suffered the dark night and death and on the third day he rose again through the grace of his loving father. For each of us, the sun sets and the sun also rises and through the grace of our Lord we can endure our own dark night and rise to the dawning of a new day and rejoice." (pg 194).

In the latest novel from William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace takes the readers into a tragic point in the life of thirteen-year old Frank Drum. It is during the summer of 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota we see the coming of age story through the eyes of a series of deaths that Frank has to face. Accident, Nature, Suicide and Murder. He has to face the harsh realities of growing up a little faster than he would like, but also there comes a poignant lesson in life that results from these events and in having to face them head on instead of simply running away and hoping life will turn out much different. He learns about hatred, racism, love and consequence in watching the lives of those around him, from his Methodist father who's a pastor for three churches, his artistic and beautiful mother, his talented sister, Ariel and his younger brother, Frank who has a stutter that cases him to be ridiculed by those who don't understand him as simply being a retard.It is a summer that will forever change him and allow him to see both sides of the proverbial coin of life.

I received Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger compliments of Atria Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers for my honest review. This book does deal with a lot of difficult subject matter and contains some sexual content and profanity, but overall the message of the story is powerful. It shows how some can simply fall away from their faith when the worst happens to them, and while others rely on it as a life rope to get them through the most challenging of situations life can hand them. I think everyone will take something away from this novel that will profoundly impact them in whatever they are dealing with in life. At least, it gives you a different perspective to see life through and perhaps may help you get through the next storm you might find yourself facing. In my opinion, I'd rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Ordinary Grace, William Kent Krueger or where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also find William Kent Krueger on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest books.

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