First sentence (from introduction): It is early morning, and I am walking along the waterfront in Seattle near the Pike Place Market. Bracing myself against the damp, chilly air, I zip my leather jacket up to my throat but still feel the wind cut daggers through me. I will them to run me through. Clouds fill all of the visible sky—dark, menacing, and turbulent. My hands are burning. I start to run. Can I outrun this? I run until my legs burn too. The sky matches my soul. Seattle is a good place to be sad. I will never walk her down the aisle. She will never have a baby. She lost only one tooth. She will never read a chapter book. Memories from only thirty days ago race past like flood-waters and sweep me off my feet. It’s as though I am in an abandoned movie theater inside my mind, being forced to watch archival footage from a horror movie that is my life.
Premise/plot: Levi Lusko shares the lessons he's learned from his pain and grief. His five year old daughter died a few days before Christmas of a bad asthma attack. He preached the Christmas sermon--he is a pastor--and buried his daughter the next day. The book was written several years, I believe, after this huge loss. It is a book about grief, in part, but more than anything it's a book about living each day with hope because Jesus rose again.
He writes, "You must learn to see life through the eyes of a Lion. Doing so is to utilize the telescope of faith, which will not only allow you to perceive the invisible—it will give you the strength to do the impossible."
His message: As long as you have breath, LIVE. Live for God. "There are things God intends for you to accomplish that no one else has been chosen for. Words he wants you to speak. Actions that speak louder than words. And through it all, he wants you to leave a mark, to put a dent in the universe."
My thoughts: This one has some good insights. His writing is engaging. I liked it well enough most of the time. I definitely stumbled across some bad theology in this one. In particular, he seems to very oh-so-casually challenge God's sovereignty. And he is DEFINITELY not Reformed.
When things don’t go our way, we get sad and can be grieved, just like God. This might surprise you, but God doesn’t always get what he wants, and neither do we. Jesus knocks at the doors of our hearts, and we have to invite him inside in order to be saved. He is a gentleman, so he knocks. He won’t go all SEAL Team Six and kick the door down. He gives us the dignity and responsibility of making our own decisions.But just because I disagree with him on a few things doesn't mean I didn't benefit from his insights in other areas.
We do a disservice anytime we try to rush people through the process of grief, as though it were spiritual to put a happy face on a horrible thing. Masking pain doesn’t heal it any faster; it actually slows it down and stunts your rehabilitation. Expecting someone to bounce back as some sort of benchmark of holiness is kind of like asking a person who has had an arm amputated if he is over it yet.
People commonly say “Rest in peace” or “RIP” as a final salvo over a grave. God has three different words for you to hold onto in faith as you approach the death of believers. Those three words are “Raised in power!”
The most important battle is the one you fight within, in your mind and heart, to not give up. If you give up hope, you won’t have the motivation to do anything else in a critical situation.
Pain is a microphone. And the more it hurts, the louder you get. Suffering isn’t an obstacle to being used by God. It is an opportunity to be used like never before.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible