Over 20 years ago, I was preparing to head into the mission field. Life was full of unknowns, huge dreams, and a strange mix of anticipation and terror!
One thing that God used to anchor me through that season of transition was a good book. Actually, there were several! If you’re in a season of transition, looking to deepen your walk, or just want a good read, consider checking these out. There are tons of great titles out there, but these were really meaningful to me.
Book 1: The Christian's Secret to a Happy Life. It's an oldie but a goodie! "In 1870 Hannah Whitall Smith wrote what has become a classic of joyous Christianity, The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life. The title barely hints at the depths of that perceptive book. It is no shallow "four easy steps to successful living." Studiously, the writer defines the shape of a full and abundant life hid in God. Then she carefully reveals the difficulties to this way and finally charts the results of a life abandoned to God. What is the Christian's secret to a happy life? It is best summed up by her chapter entitled "The Joy of Obedience." Joy comes through obedience to Christ, and joy results from obedience to Christ. Without obedience joy is hollow and artificial." Foster, Richard J. Celebration Of Discipline, p.192. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988. (Which is also a great book!)
One of my favorite quotes from this book was "Most people,” she continued, “take their burdens to Him, but they bring them away with them again, and are just as worried and unhappy as ever. But I take mine, and I leave them with Him, and come away and forget them. And if the worry comes back, I take it to Him again; I do this over and over, until at last I just forget that I have any worries, and am at perfect rest.”". If you’d like to get it on Amazon, here’s the link.
Book 2: Wayfarer in the Land by another Hannah, Hannah Hurnard. She wrote Hind's Feet on High Places, which I love. I was so excited to find this book way back when and learn that she was a missionary! From Amazon-"The Lord's care and guidance are vividly demonstrated in the account of the author's evangelistic team that carried the gospel message to remote settlements in Israel during the 1930s."
One of my favorite quotes from this book was Hannah talking about how she and a woman who she would not normally get along with managed to work together. "…as long as the irritating matter is able to haunt one's thoughts during that time of silent worship, and one is unable to get free of it, but goes over the point again and again, one can be sure that the matter has not been fully yielded to the Lord, and one is not in a prepared frame of mind to mention it without aggravating the situation. It is better to keep silent on the matter altogether and wait until the Lord has brought me to the place to be able to put it on one side and has set one at liberty to think and pray about other things." If you’d like to get it on Amazon, here’s the link.
Book 3: Cross-Cultural Conflict:Building Relationships for Effective Ministry, by Duane Elmer. From Amazon-"Whether at home or abroad, communicating with people of other cultures is difficult. It requires new ways of thinking and interpreting the world. When conflict arises, as it often does, the issues become even more confusing. Without a good understanding of how different cultures handle conflict, our best intentions may only make matters worse."
One of my favorite ideas from the book is that Matthew 18 is not the only Biblical model for conflict resolution. There are examples of others in Scripture that are often more honoring of our host cultures. If you’d like to get it on Amazon, here’s the link.
What are some of your favorites? I’d love to hear them — especially if you’re in a season of transition. Leave a comment below!