Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Man He Never Was - A Review

A Review

Two hymns crossed my path this week that reminded me of what this book is about:
In the United Methodist Hymnal, these two hymns are set opposite of each other when one opens the hymnal (UMH 377 and UMH 378). As we sang these two hymns in church last week, at the beginning of our worship service, I could not but think of the lessons Toren Daniels was learning on his spiritual journey as recorded by James Rubart in this wonderful novel. The lessons were ones I learned some 25+ years ago and, like Toren, they were accompanied by a great many tears. Every so often I need to be reminded of those lessons — this book helped me do that these last two weeks.

Much of the story revolves around the more famous story written by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, first published in 1886. I have never read that book, so no attempt will be made here to compare characters, plots, or themes. Though the lessons of the current book are many, the one that struck home for me this week was:

God loves even me
     The good me and the bad me
God loves all of me

Related to that was the reality that I cannot love another until I know that I am also loved — and I am loved by an everlasting, all-powerful, Father. Many of us may know that in heads, but somehow, somewhere, this truth must also be known in hearts. This is where life gets tricky — we can sing, “God loves me, this I know …” from our heads, but until it is a part of our very being, it will difficult for us to offer that love to others.

Rubart’s writing reminded me of the work of C. S. Lewis and Max Lucado — mixing a bit of myth and a bit of truth to present a story that will reach into the head and the heart of the reader. For this reader, the author has successfully done just this.
This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

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