Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Didn't sign Up for This!


Title:  I Didn’t Sign Up For This

Author:  Aaron Sharp

Pages:  224

Year:  2012

Publisher:  Discovery House Publishers

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for reviewing.



                What does the name Elijah remind you of?  Is there someone you know who has that name or do you remember a man in the Bible with that name?  Is there anything specific you remember about him?  My favorite story of Elijah comes from the Old Testament.  He was a man who was a powerful prophet and proved that an idol had no power, but the LORD did have power and still does.  Next, I remember him feeling exhausted, beaten, and done with his ministry.  He goes out to the desert to talk to God, and the amazing thing about it all to me is that God never once tells him to be quiet.  God listens.

                Does any of the above ring a bell with you?  Where exactly is that located in the Bible anyway?  In this book, writer Aaron Sharp focuses on 1 Kings 19 and Elijah specifically.  Why?  Elijah probably felt like he didn’t sign up for what he was going through, and sometimes we feel like we didn’t sign up for what we are going through either.  Aaron Sharp unpacks 1 Kings 19 to show the detours Elijah went through in his life and how God was working, even if Elijah didn’t see or know that truth.  We need to be reminded too that detours aren’t always comfortable, but God is working beyond our capacity to see or understand.

                In this book of twelve chapters, Aaron Sharp shares what he has learned in the sometimes painful detours he has lived through in his life.  The wisdom he gained and the struggles he went through are reminiscent of what some of us have gone through too.  In the backdrop of 1 Kings 19, we see what Elijah experienced with his mountaintop experience followed by what might be a valley experience.  We see why God allowed Elijah to make the choices he made, and why God didn’t tell Elijah to be quiet when he was in a cave, pouring out his heart.

                There are other Biblical people whose experiences Aaron Sharp briefly shares with the reader, and then he helps the reader to see not just his/her humanity, but God’s hand in his/her life.  This book helps to give comfort; we aren’t alone in what we suffer.  We see that “time,” though not always viewed as a friend when we want answers quick, isn’t an enemy either because God is working things out not just for the here and now, but for the tomorrows of many people.  Toward the end of the book Aaron reminds us that eventually we have to begin thinking that whatever tough season we are in will end and what will we be found doing then?  We might feel like the tough season will never end.  I know I am there too, but the truth is that it will end and then what do you envision yourself doing?  Sometimes life doesn’t return to the former normalcy we once knew; it is a new normalcy.  You might want to prayerfully consider what God has prepared for you to do.

                Elijah returns to his ministry, but not as the same man.  Now, he is a man with some new direction.  In his obedience, Elijah does what God tells him to do, but it isn’t only his life that is changed.  In fact, when you or I are done with our tough season, we won’t be the same either.  We might come out with some directions too.  Will we obey?  Personally, I am glad Elijah did as the ripple effect of his life and testimony are still felt today.  Will our ripple effect be felt too?  We may never know this side of heaven, but knowing God never wastes anything, I plan to obey and trust that He has something much grander in mind than just letting the season end.  What about you?