Sunday, October 05, 2014

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn

Safely Home
by Randy Alcorn

I was looking for a good book to read over this long weekend, and I am so glad I have finally started on Randy Alcorn's novel, Safely Home, which won the Gold Medallion Book Award for evangelical literature.

I was a bit reluctant to read it as I was a bit disappointed with his book Heaven. That book started well, but as I trudged along, I found it very repetitive, thus making it hard to follow after awhile, as my mind keep shutting off reading the same phrases again and again and again.

But I am really looking to a good reading time with Safely Home, although I am sure I will end up sobbing and weeping buckets. I am already in tears when I was in Chapter 2!

Safely Home takes place in present-day China, and follows the story of two Harvard roommates, one American and one Chinese, who reunite decades after they graduate.

Alcorn wrote the novel based on actual events of the persecution of Christians in China, which is indeed very real and happening as we speak. He said, "While many things in this book have actually happened in one way or another, I have made up the story. Still, I have attempted to keep it authentic and true to life in as many details as possible. Nearly all my characters are fictitious. Some are composites of several real people."

The account is apparently so real that "a missionary...recently wrote: “Safely Home was very, very accurate.” She knows a Chinese woman who couldn’t read the book because it reminded her of close friends suffering persecution."

I was reading Chapter 2 where Li Quan was muttering "Is this the day I die?" while bundling up his eight-year-old son one Sunday at 2 in the morning onto the front of his bicycle, and he with his wife maneuvered the uneven path in the dark on their bicycles in order to get to a secret church to worship God and His Son, Jesus. They gathered quietly in the small house church in candlelight, reading a bible his mother had copied by hand for eight years, singing worship songs as softly as they can, and praying for strength in midst of suffering and pain.

When I was reading that chapter, I had to stop and ask for forgiveness for all my gripes and complaints in church most Sunday mornings: gripes about having no parking space for our car, air-conditioning too cold, songs I can't sing, announcements too draggy, too much sharing and sometimes sermons a bit too boring.

I feel embarrassed and ashamed. Who am I to grumble? Who am I to criticize? If not for the grace and mercy of my ever-faithful and forgiving God, I know I would have been struck down like Ananias and Sapphira, dead.

O God, I thank you for the privilege to come to you to worship you as freely as I can every Sunday. I ask you to forgive me of my foolishness and my self-centeredness. I pray for your people who risk their very lives every day, even at this very moment, as they profess and live their faith in you without fear. May these honorable saints be so strengthened and upheld by your holy presence, your comforting words and promptings, your saving grace and loving kindness. You are our sovereign God, whose mercy and love is unfailing. Jesus, you are Emmanuel, God with us. Amen.


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