A debut Christian memoir aims to impart hope in hopeless times.
“No one ever promised that life would be fair,” Lemaster writes in his approachable book. “We live in a fallen world; should we expect anything different?” The dark realities of that world are never far from the author’s ruminations on the life of the Christian faithful, but his account is nevertheless charged with hope and optimism that derive in large part from the promises he sees in Christian Scripture. Lemaster first came to receive Jesus as his savior as a teenager at his family’s Baptist church in the mountains of eastern Kentucky and has felt himself called and recalled over the following years, a rough spiritual relationship that the author describes with affecting honesty and directness. The most active part of that rocky relationship is Lemaster’s lifelong struggle with depression, which was “a constant companion” and often disrupted his walk of faith and filled him with sorrowful questions that should resonate with many of his readers: “Why did God make me the way I am? My pain and despair drove me to question: If God was real, why didn’t he hear me? Why didn’t he answer my prayers? Why didn’t he care?” Inner grappling like this could make the book a bleak and dispiriting slog, but even when he’s writing bluntly about the trials and heartaches facing his fellow Christians, he’s an unfailingly upbeat and optimistic companion who’s focused on the redemptive potential of his faith. “I wish I could give each of us three Bible verses and a prayer to overcome whatever failures have plagued us in the past,” he asserts, pointing out that life offers no quick fixes but then adding: “Whatever our moral failures may be, God desires to change us.” This positive strand running through the volume is based on very straightforward principles (as Lemaster writes at one point, it all boils down to “praise God!”). The combination of that simplicity and the conversational tone adopted throughout should appeal to a broad Christian audience.
An account that effectively touts the basic promises of Christian salvation.