I read this book when I was in my mid thirties (preparing for mid-life) and now I have read it a second time in my mid forties (wrestling and struggling with mid-life). I must admit that I enjoyed it more this time around, because I have been bruised, bent, and broken a lot more than I ever experienced in my thirties or up until that point. I suppose I will probably be reading this book again in my mid fifties too!
I am partial to MacDonald’s writing because he is a deep thinker, good story-teller, and weaves biblical principles in ways that are practical, well thought ought, and go beyond clichés.
This book is beneficial in helping one pause and take stock and evaluate their life. It is especially geared to helping those who aren’t sure what to do with their lives; have had to, or desire to change careers, or are out of work; wrestling with meaning, purpose, and in need of hope and direction. It is thought provoking and doesn’t necessarily give all the answers you may be looking for, but sets you on the right course – and helps to correct taking the wrong course for sure.
In the body of the book MacDonald weaves his own story (and our own) with those of Abraham, Moses, The People of Israel, Paul, and the Disciples and uses the outline of the fact that we need to leave something behind; learn to follow Christ; and reach for higher possibilities. Learning, following, and reaching are well developed emotionally, spiritually, and practically and steeped in a good theology of “being” like Christ, rather than merely “doing” all the time.
Gordon emphasizes the fact that God wants us to have depth of character, and this depth can really only be achieved through suffering, faith when we can’t see, trying when we don’t know if we will succeed. However, all these factors and more are necessary in our lives in order that we may become deep people internally (in and from the soul) with proven character.
I have been helped significantly through MacDonald’s writing as a broken man to another broken man, and have been given more hope through his writing in pointing me to Jesus – the only One worth following, being like, and living for. Gordon writes like a master surgeon on the soul – taking out what needs to be removed and fixes what needs to be fixed. GMAC (I’m told that’s what his friends call him) – thanks again for your writing that goes deep into the mind and heart and for healing wounds and souls for the glory of God.