An instructional guide that aims to help readers achieve their inner, divine purposes.
Robert (His Beauty for My Ashes, 2012), a pastor and preacher in Cambodia, believes that God has a plan for everyone. He likens this to a child growing inside each person, waiting to be nourished. There are numerous reasons, he says, why one might be unaware of this potential—ignorance of Scripture, a general lack of spiritual awareness, or even simple defiance. Sometimes, he says, this lack of awareness falsely leads people to believe that God is neglecting them. But, according to the author, God provides each person with the necessary tools to unearth their purpose and bring it to full fruition. Robert avers that humans experience two different kinds of emptiness: a purely negative kind that manifests as low self-esteem and another, more positive version that’s a desire to be closer to God. Building one’s relationship with God through scriptural study and prayerful self-reflection, he says, can provide everyone with a clearer sense of his plan. The author discusses a number of practical ideas on combatting stress and recognizing the consequences of fear and anxiety as well as the potentially negative influence of one’s peers. He often recounts his own experiences as references, but the true focal point of his study is the Bible, which he characterizes as the authoritative guide for this “divine program.” Robert’s prose is consistently clear and sometimes even poetically elegant: “There is a fire in every person….When the fire is lit but untended, it is a gift in hibernation and it is not going to benefit or warm others in need but rather will produce a tearful smoke.” Overall, this will be a helpful guide to some readers looking for encouragement and advice about deepening their spiritual practice. However, the author’s view is so pervasively Christian that it will only resonate with other Christians, and some of them may find it too broad. The instructions can be overly general even in sections that appear to promise more concrete, practical tips, such as “Recipes for Successful Birthing.”
A spiritual instruction manual that’s too overtly sectarian to have wide appeal.