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The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives Paperback – July 10, 2010
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That's the purpose of this book: to keep us moving from a threadbare existence to a tapestry that reflects the beauty and glory of God. Zacharias assures that this is God's ultimate end. "We will be `re-created,' and all the threads of our earthly life will come together for the design that we will experience in heaven. Every tribe, every language, every moment, every pain, every sorrow will come together in the consummate pattern of God's design."
In each chapter Zacharias unravels specific threads vital to every Christian: uniqueness, disappointments, calling, morality, spirituality, will, worship and destiny. Regardless of the topic, the theme remains the same: "seeing the designing hand of God and his intervention in our lives in such a way that we know he has a specific purpose for each of us and that he will carry us through until we meet him face-to-face and know ourselves completely."
But he asks, "How can you see the divine intersection of all that shapes and marks your existence, whether it be the heart-wrenching tragedies that wound you or the ecstasy of a great delight that brings laughter to your soul? How can you meet God in all your appointments and your disappointments? How can you recognize that he has a purpose, even when all around seems senseless, if not hopeless?"
It begins when we "accept the wonder and marvel of one's own personality, however flawed or `accidental,' and place it in and trust it to the hands of the One who made it." Zacharias reckons that as one of the greatest achievements in life.
Chapter 2 focuses on three practical steps to make the pattern of God's work more visible. The first step involves the heart. God looks for tender hearts that He can imprint. The second involves the mind. We must learn to trust that God is in control and believe that He has a purpose for our lives. Last but not least is the importance of the cross. It was said of F. W. Boreham, a man Zacharias considers a primary influence, that regardless of where he started, he made his way to the cross, and that is precisely what Zacharias does here. "How much more can we understand suffering when we see it through the eyes of the One who defines good and evil, comfort and suffering, and who went to the cross to deal with it? Is this not the only way we can understand and cope with our own suffering? We must see the world of pain through the eyes of Jesus, who best understands it not merely as pain but as brokenness and separation."
Though known for his defense of the Christian faith, this book is more devotional than theological. It's not a doctrinal exposition of the sovereignty of God or a book about finding God's will for your life. Rather, Zacharias covers the various areas of our life that may need adjustment so that we can see and experience more fully God's hand fulfilling the unique destiny that He has in mind for us.
He expertly handles a subject that probably few have made so practical. Zacharias makes it personal by sharing stories and insights gained from years of experience. There's a wealth of wisdom on every page. As is the case with writers like C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton and Malcom Muggeridge (a few favorites of Zacharias), it may take more than one reading to apprehend all the treasures. Christian leaders looking for nourishment or some morsel to pass on to their hungry flocks will find plenty to satisfy themselves and others. Hope is communicated to all.
Zacharias covers so much ground that sometimes the threads of his writing seem to hang together loosely, but he weaves it all together by continually returning to his theme. Some parts are challenging. It's often illuminating and always encouraging.
This is not Ravi Zacharias the apologist, defending the faith. It's Ravi Zacharias, serving as a friend, beckoning us onward.
Zacharias is always worth reading, but this may be among his most important books because of the subject matter. What could be more valuable than seeing and experiencing God redeeming every aspect of our broken lives?
He still employs his powerful story-telling gift, he still pulls in quotes and insights from his wide breathe of knowledge, and he doesn't sacrifice intellectual honesty for improved readability. But there's a tenderness and a gentleness to it all . . . and insights and encouragements abound.
It's a delightful follow-up to his deeply personal memoir, "Walking from East to West: God in the Shadows." Whatever your stage of life--whether it's re-examining your "DNA," finding value in your disappointments, deciphering your calling, or considering your morality--Ravi has a word for you. You'd do well to listen.
He writes an enlightening segment on distractions, noting..."The bane of our lives is getting sidetracked into secondary pursuits." An antidote to this is to capture specificity by writing down your purpose. That way activites can be ascertained as to their validity.
God's Word indicates that He wants us to know His will. Dr. Zacharais drives this point home in discussing the two-way nature of prayer. He goes on to talk about the fallacy of busyness in superficial "worship" as contrasted with heartfelt worship.
Chapter 5 deals with three phoney types of spirituality, traditionalism, legalism, and superstitution. Each is addressed in a clear way from the perspective of Jesus. The whole book is an extremely valuable tool for helping you to live the well-reflected life that leads to living abundantly and on target.
Being an extensive traveler who is knowledgeable on all the world's major religions, the author authoritative defends his reasons for believing the claims of Jesus Christ. The myth of "all religions basically teaching the same thing" is eloquently refuted. After reading that section of the book you realize anyone who makes such a statment is ignorant. This is a very inspiring contribution to the life of any inquiring reader.
Reading the book has illuminated many situations that in the past I had considered happenstance. In reflection, I now realize these happenings were not per chance, but carefully woven by the Grand Weaver, designed with purpose to mold me into the character of His son, Jesus Christ.
Were all of these experiences pleasant? No, they were not; however, several things ring true: I never had to face them alone, and they shaped who I've become and will continue to be.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who searches for answers and meaning in their lives.