Have you ever had friends bring you to places you later sought escape from? Or others whose company took you to the restful place of trust? If there's one description I would offer of this book, I'd say that Adrian Plass led me in gradual albeit unsteady steps to return to the safety of Jesus Christ. Closely following the coaxing and persuasion of his own struggles, I barely highlighted anything in the book because the journey became more important and intense than the pitstops or destinations. I was too engrossed to take pictures along the way!
The safest places are the places of finding Jesus whatever one is going through. Safety is not found in a life averse to risk-taking but a life of running to a safe God. In His Presence, He delivers the Truth that sets you free.
The book is divided into three parts: SAFE JESUS, TENDER JESUS and EXTREME JESUS and at the end of each section is a collection of the author's short accounts of finding God. One such account titled 'Restoring the Balance' describes how he was shaken by a disturbing comment made before he was to speak in an old university chapel that threw him into confusion; yet, right before he went up to take his place, someone else slipped an encouraging note to him. To me, it magnifies the fact that the place of safety in Jesus is where He restores His Truth in the place of doubt, fear and courage deficiency that can severely throw me off-balance. His Truth deals authoritatively with distortions about who I am and who He is - distortions even sunned and seasoned believers fall prey to.
On an episode when the author was holding a self-indulgence fest, he felt God observing: "Okay, you go off into a little corner and tell yourself how rotten and useless you are if that gives you any satisfaction. Feel as sorry for yourself as you like. Despise yourself if you want. But don't you ever, ever dare to despise what I do through you, because that is completely different." Indeed, beating or puffing ourselves up are therapies for the self-indulgent. God is Truth. He will do neither but tell you the truth.
Like a friend who sacrifices privacy to share a Jesus who's safe, tender and extreme through his very personal vulnerabilities, Adrian Plass takes me to the safety of presenting myself to Jesus in my own vulnerabilities and weaknesses. I come to a place of intense contention where I find intimate correction, a place where a totally confused child finds the enduring patience of an all-knowing Father.
25 prayers in everyday language are stacked at the back of the book each of which will till and tenderise your soul in ways beyond your imagination.
Where you can get it: S$23.50 SKS Books ISBN978-0-310-26899-4 [published 2006]
Level of impact: Good treatment of honesty for the self-absorbed. You'll find surprises about yourself and be humbled!
Timing of book: When I want to get more real with God and thought I knew what it means.