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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready...
Imagine each area of your life as a thread that God uses to fulfill the design he has in mind for you. “His design for your life pulls together every thread of your existence into a magnificent work of art. Every thread matters and has a specific purpose.” Zacharias goes on to remind us that “God holds the threads; you hold the shuttle. Move it at God’s behest, and watch the making of something spectacular.”
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?