This is an excellent, excellent book! Another one falling into my hands in a timely manner - lifting me and teaching me when I need it most.
I could really relate to this book in many ways - Michelle mentions her transient life, and mine is much the same, as I know many others of you out there are also. It was an interesting perspective on it that Michelle presented through this book, as it's not something I really thought of in a spiritual sense before, and yet it makes a lot of sense.
There is so much packed into this book - Michelle really delves deep into the word drawing lessons from different parts of the Bible, drawing out things often overlooked such as the Israelites in the desert and how that compares to us.
Below are some quotes that really spoke to me throughout the book in various ways:
"Faith expressly signifies the deep, strong, blessed restlessness that drives the believer so that he cannot settle down at rest in this world.. - Soren Kierkegaard". p43
"Godly contentment will keep us in a state of discontentment with the world around us. It will help us recognize temporary comforts such as a full stomach and a safe place in which to lay our heads are not the destination in our lives. Godly contentment makes pilgrims out of us" p57
"Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and seperates the victim from reality - John Gardner" p63
"Self pity is the fruit of pride, which is the root of all other kinds of sin. My self pity was rooted in a warped sense of my own importance and flowered in envy and anger" p63
Speaking of the Israelites in the desert she says "Deeply entrenched self-pity kept them in a far more permanent prison than slavery had every been. The desert was meant to transform them into pilgrims, but self-pity kept them in exile" p69
"When the world seems out of control and an individual (or entire community in the case of the Hebrew people) chooses the role of the helpless victim, they are no longer responsible for what they say or do.... Self-pity turns out story into a tragedy with no hope of redemption. It robs us of our belatedness. It makes exiles out of us" p70
"Author Marlena Graves said, 'The desert heightens our senses; paradoxically, we're acutely aware of both God's presence and his seeming absence. Truths once obscure, or mentally assented to yet not experienced, suddenly stand out in sharp relief, while the superfluous recess into the background." p73
"Transition carries with it the temptation to return to the familiar past, no matter how toxic it was, rather than live in the bewildering present. Indulging this temptation keeps us living as exiles instead of learning to become pilgrims' p73
"The deserts in our lives are where we begin to discover how to follow God even when - especially when - our circumstances don't make sense" p74
"Pilgrimage is always a step by step decision to follow Him. Those steps may look like repentance as we turn toward Him from a place we've wandered after choosing to rebel against God. They may look like obedience, as we continue to track Hi steps as we face the challenge of the narrow road. They may look like fellowship, as we commune with Him on the journey. But they will always look like death (Matt 16:24-26) p141
"In a time of upheaval in most every stream within the church and dizzying shifts in our culture, we may be tempted either to look to the past for guidance, or search for the exit ramp so we can go it alone. Both speak to our desire for comfort and security. Neither leads us to the cross " p146
"Pastor Tim Keller said, 'When pain and suffering come upon us, we finally see not only that we are not in control of our lives but that we never were'" p168
"God uses suffering to purity us...it is one of the main ways we become like him (Jesus) and experience His redemption. And that means that our suffering, despite its painfulness, is also filled with purpose and usefulness." p169
Each chapter ends with thoughts to ponder and a prayer too, which really brings it home.
This book was a true blessing for me and real perspective shifter. I saw myself in so much of it and how I had fallen in some of those traps - just out of ignorance.
I would highly recommend this book for every Christian who has a heart set on following God - this book will highlight some of the pits to watch out for and help you on your journey.
Please note that I was sent a copy of this book for purposes of review, however all opinions expressed are entirely my own.