I love to read. I am very serious. I LOVE to read. Someone recently asked me when I started to love reading. I think I always have. I was the kid who always got yelled at for reading with a flashlight under the covers way past my bedtime. But I digress.
Lately I have been doing much more reading than I usually do. When working with only one hand, not much work actually gets done. Reading is an activity that can be done one handed. Well, kind of anyway. Some books don’t want to stay open but it is still easier to read one handed than it is to do dishes or fold laundry.
This past week my husband was out of town for work. My bookend kids (oldest and youngest) who still live at home had full work and class schedules. That left me more time than usual to read. I often read non-fiction. I figure if I’m going to spend the time reading, I may as well be learning something in the process. I enjoy authors such as Francis Chan, David Platt, John MacArthur and James MacDonald–to name a few. I often have several books I am involved in. My current book is a small book written by several authors and edited by C.J. Mahney titled Worldliness. I highly recommend it.
This week I also began a fiction book. I do that from time to time. I have read all of Joel Rosenberg’s fiction books and many of Dee Henderson’s as well. The author of this fiction book is one I am very familiar with. He wrote all the Left Behind series–all of which I read as they were released. Jerry Jenkins is a talented writer who has a way of drawing the reader into the story he is weaving. His latest work is no exception. The cool thing, though, is on this book, he had a co-author. Harvest Bible Chapel founder and senior pastor of the Chicagoland campuses, James MacDonald, co-authored this book. It is titled, I, Saul.
The story is Historical fiction and it weaves together two plots taking place centuries apart. From the first page I was hooked. I know the story of Saul and how he once persecuted Christians–some to the point of death. I know the facts of his conversion and the hardships he faced as a convert to Christ. Yet, this book brought to light likely facts about those hardships that I, as a twenty-first century religiously free American, had not thought through. The descriptions of the conditions Paul likely lived in as a prisoner were difficult to think on. I couldn’t help but wonder if the persecuted Christians today in places like China or Pakistan or Iran face similar conditions? And if so, how do they do it? In America, we feel persecuted if someone in a restaurant stares at us for bowing our heads to say a prayer of thanks before a meal.
This book opened my eyes to so many things I knew but hadn’t taken the time to really think through. It gave me even more appreciation for the freedoms I enjoy. It gave me a resolve to pray more for those who do not enjoy those same freedoms.
If you enjoy reading and want to enjoy a great story intertwined with factual history about the Christian faith, I highly recommend I, Saul by Jerry Jenkins and James MacDonald. A word of warning though–the story IS continued and the next book isn’t due to be released until 2014. I didn’t know that until the end of the book. It’s all good, though. I will anxiously await its release and then hide away somewhere with my copy so I can continue the adventure.