Thursday, June 11, 2009

Morningsong: My Review

One subject with which I have trouble is differentiating between God's active will--those things He chooses to have happen to people and His permissive will--those things He allows to happen as a result of a sinful world. It is easy to say "God blessed me with this child" when you got pregnant after you were married, the first month you "tried". Did God also bless the 14 year old incest victim who just found out she is pregnant? Did God actively will both pregnancies? Neither? The first, but not the second? If He willed the second, does that mean He willed the rape? How much is God a puppet master, moving us around the stage of the world and how much is he a watchmaker, who put us all together, but then winds us up and lets us go?

If you are wondering where the book review is, it is coming. I wrote the above because it ran through my mind while reading Morningsong by Shelly Beach. It is the story of Mona, a 40ish single woman who recently suffered a traumatic brain injury in the same accident as claimed the life of her teenage niece. Until the accident Mona had been an independent athletic woman. Now she has balance and coordination problems, problems with math, and gets frequent headaches. She talks in the book about it being God's will that what she had before was taken from her so that God could give her more. I ask, does God operate that way?

The book is mainly about Mona's relationships with her niece, sister to the one who was lost. Hallie, the niece has been caring for Ellen, her alcoholic mom, since the accident, but then Ellen ends up in the hospital in an alcoholic coma. Hallie comes to live with Mona. Ellen goes to rehab. The story is also about Mona's relationship with Adam, the man in her life. Will she learn to accept his love? When you don't see yourself as lovable, it is hard to allow yourself to be loved. Uncle Harold, the last main character, is the one who holds all these people together and leads them to wholeness. We find that his wisdom is not only a result of age, but also of sorrow. The book ends on a happy note, but as in real life, sorrow isn't far away.

This is Christian fiction. The faith of the characters and the effect it has on their lives is paramount to the story. Take out the faith, and this book fails. However, this is not an "accept Jesus and life will be grand" book either. These people have hurts, they are imperfect and they sin. They also love the Lord and it shows in their lives. This book is a good emotional read and I'm glad I read it.

Question for discussion: Do you see God more as a puppet master or as a watchmaker--or as something else? How much of what happens can we credit to (or blame on) God and how much is just the way He allows things to be?

I received Morningsong by Shelly Beach for a First Wildcard tour. Check back July 18 to read about the author and check out the first chapter for yourself.

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