Monday, January 17, 2011

The Land Between: A Book Review

About The Book:

In The Land Between, author Jeff Manion uses the biblical story of the Israelite’s journey through Sinai desert as a metaphor for being in undesired, transitional space. After enduring generations of slavery in Egypt, the descendants of Jacob travel through the desert (the land between) toward their new home in Canaan. They crave the food of their former home in Egypt and despise their present environment. They are unable to go back and incapable of moving forward. The Land Between explores the way in which their reactions can provide insight and guidance on how to respond to God during our own seasons of difficult transition. The book provides fresh biblical insight for people traveling through undesired transitions (e.g. foreclosure, unemployment, parents in declining health, post-graduate uncertainty, business failure, etc.) who are looking for hope, guidance, and encouragement. While it is possible to move through transitions and learn little, they provide our greatest opportunity for spiritual growth. God desires to meet us in our chaos and emotional upheaval, and he intends for us to encounter his goodness and provision during these upsetting seasons.

About The Author:

Jeff Manion is Senior Teaching Pastor of Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for more than 25 years. He and his wife, Chris, have three children.

My Review:

About a year ago, I went through the DVD/Bible Study by Priscilla Shirer called One In A Million and it was just what I needed at the time. It made me realize that there was a reason for the trials and struggles I had experienced the previous year. As I have just come through the hardest year of my marriage ever, I was looking for more books that would help me deal with the trials I had been experiencing. So I was looking very forward to reading The Land Between by Jeff Manion. 

Through reading Manion's book, I was once again reminded that God has a purpose for each of our lives and that even though He does not like to see His people sad and hurting, He will always have a reason for bringing us through the wilderness.

With a very easy to read and understand manner, Manion uses real-life experiences and sound Biblical references to show us how to respond when we experience the trials and tribulations we do. I know that without my faith in God I don't know how I would have made it through all I have in the last six years. Between illness, infertility, a sick baby, a death of several family members and most recently, marriage issues, I have come to realize that these trials have only come to make me stronger in my relationship with God. Although difficult, I am so glad to have experienced what I have. It has made me a stronger woman, wife, and mom after His Heart! 

The Land Between has been a welcome read for me and the conversational way with which Manion writes was so incredibly encouraging. Just like Shirer, Manion states throughout his book, God allows the difficult times so that we will be drawn closer to Him. 

Here are a couple of quotes that resonated with me as I read The Land Between:

"The very experience we wish to avoid can grow the very crop we most desperately need. The land we least desire may produce the fruit we most desire - if we will let it, if we can turn toward God with open hearts as Moses did rather than turn away from God in bitterness as the Israelites did. Whether we will be Moses or the Israelites will rest in part on what we have been doing prior to our Land Between - in particular, on what spiritual habits we have been developing along the way." (p. 169)

"It is in saying yes to God again and again when little seems at stake that we prepare our hearts to say yes to God when everything is at stake." (p. 174)

Finally, the book concludes with a study guide that can be used both individually or in a group setting. I have not gone through it as yet, but it is one that will be doing at some point this year.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is dealing with a difficult life experience right now! A powerful read that will change you forever!

BUY IT: You can purchase The Land Between by Jeff Manion online directly through Zondervan - it is also available through your favorite local Christian bookseller.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Zondervan, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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