In his book, Reflections, Holiness--Wholeness, David Collins has written a deeply personal series of reflections on his search to know and be known by his Creator.
He bares his soul as he writes on moving from the place of self-rejection to a space of belovedness. He was crippled early in life with feelings of inferiority because of his struggle as a child mastering the English alphabet and reading. (He didn't learn until he was 52 that Vietnamese, not English, had been his first language.). Through the gentle voice of his Maker, David came to understand that his worth came from the simple from the fact that he was beloved by his Creator. "What if I told you didn't need to do anything special?" David sensed God saying to him. "Can you believe that you are special because I made you that way?"
David was raised on a diet of salvation from hell, but he now feels he has been saved from striving: striving to measure up, striving to earn God's favour in the world, striving to make a mark on the world as a way to validate his existence.
David writes about how he almost lost his faith because it rained on his drywall. He had lived through genocides and witnessed unspeakable atrocities, but still emerged with a deep conviction in God as sovereign, loving, just, and trustworthy. But, when it rained on his drywall (when the Doppler forecast had projected no rain for three days), David felt blind-sided, overlooked by God, and nearly abandoned his faith.
David's writings are part journal entry, part essay, part homily. Those who have been raised in the evangelical world will find themselves in David's experiences. His discoveries will help people socialized in a Christian culture see God in a new light. Windows will open. Fresh air will be inhaled. The weight of duty will fall from shoulders. Spirits will be lifted and people will reclaim the joy and freedom that God intends for them.
David writes also on such themes as mystery, tears, voices, worldview, authenticity, justice, abundance, holiness, and wholeness. He draws you in with his personal experiences, but his entries are brief. They leave you longing, feeling like there is so much more territory to be explored. Your interest will be aroused and you will want David to guide you further on the journey, but his train of reflection stops not long after departure. He then turns to you and asks you to reflect on your own journey and to become part of the story. This is consistent with David's oral teaching style: he teaches for the combination of self-disclosing stories and questions, and then invites you to become part of the teaching. This book will nurture you if you read it in solitude, but you find yourself more edified if you read it with a friend or in a small group and expand upon the reflections that David introduces.
By Ken Shigematsu, senior pastor Tenth Avenue Church, Vancouver
David Collins has written a unique book. It is a moving account of his own journey with God. David is not afraid to ask the hard questions, to "reason together" and wrestle with God. In this honest reflection you are drawn into the heart and life of a man who has been to the hardest places in the world, where he has seen poverty injustice and even genocide first hand. Most people will turn their eyes from such suffering. But not Collins. He walks in this world with all of it's pain and allows that pain to touch his life.
I have been slowly reading through Reflections as part of my own devotional life. It has challenged me and called me to greater reflective honesty. If you want to remain comfortable, this is not the book for you. If you want to be stretched and challenged to grow, then buy a copy and read it. With me, you will thank David for this gift.
I have really enjoyed Reflections so far. It has been about 2 or 3 months since I received this book, and I'm only about half way through. I've been reading some of the chapters over again because they really make you think. It has forced me to dig down deep within my soul and is challenging me to learn what I actually believe. Something that I never considered doing before. It has definitely served its purpose in my life, allowing me to look back on where I am in my walk with Jesus. But more importantly it is forcing me to look forward to something that is new and exciting that I never thought was possible. Our focus should be on the path ahead, not the road behind. Prior to reading Reflections my focus was so much on the negatives of my past, I may as well have been walking backwards. Thanks Dave for writing this book. It is helping me take my eyes off of man, and is putting them back on Jesus.