A series of uplifting stories explores the healing power of grace.
This latest work from Sievert (God Revealed, 2014) opens with a series of questions that plague everybody, including: “Has life worn you down?” “Have you been kicked in the teeth by illness?” “Are you in crisis?” The author, who spent 30 years in the insurance business and is now in the ministry, in these pages urges his Christian readers to turn to the concept of grace as the beginning of an answer to those questions: “When you realize God’s grace, you take the first step toward accepting that unconditional gift that is yours, regardless of how much you think you do or do not deserve it.” Sievert delineates various types of grace and maps them onto various kinds of crises that crop up in people’s lives, including sexual abuse, alcoholism, and suicidal tendencies. These personal stories are told in vivid narrative detail and are followed up with the author’s reflections on how each tale illustrates a different redemptive quality of God’s grace. Some readers may be troubled by the book’s gentle but persistent implication that prayer is a fit and sufficient method for dealing with deep physiological and psychological issues like drug addiction and sexual abuse. For those readers, Sievert’s inclusion of the standard disclaimer that he in no way wishes “to diminish the importance of sound medical advice and treatment from appropriate medical professionals” may be insufficient. But it’s clear from the balance of the book that the author doesn’t mean to trivialize the problems he’s dramatizing, and he’s certainly correct to point out that the support of a personal faith (and a religious community) has a long and impressive track record in helping people cope with all kinds of trauma. This is an optimistic but nonetheless realistic account, one in which grace is freely given but still needs to be earned.
An intriguing, narrative-driven examination of how grace can change lives.