Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Restorer's Son

I would have posted this review earlier, but as you can see, I had to fight to get my hands on the book.

I recently finished The Restorer's Son by Sharon Hinck. I've been interested in reading it ever since I got a sneak preview of the cover art when I interviewed Sharon.
The story started in The Restorer continues in this book. Kieran, a reluctant hero, has become the Restorer, a role he desperately wants to relinquish, especially as his life falls apart. And Susan and Mark return to the land of Lyric through the portal in a desperate search for their oldest son, Jake, who has disappeared. What will happen as Kieran discovers the One's intentions for him? Will he submit to the One's will? And where has Jake disappeared to?
Once again, Hinck delivers a rollicking good read. Lots of tension, lots of mystery, and the one nice thing is that Hinck has absolutely no problem depicting heroes as being flawed. Kieran, the new Restorer, is a perfect example. He starts out basically a functional atheist, only interested in his own survival and hostile to the One's plans. He has to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into a relationship with the One.
That's the nice thing about books like this. It's good for Christians to see that there's only one perfect hero, and that's God. Everyone else that we hold up to the light has a lot of warts. For example, this week, I'm preaching on the call of Abraham to follow God to the Promised Land. Normally I wouldn't give a sneak preview of my sermons, but it dovetails so nicely with what's going through my head right now, I have to share.
Normally when we learn about Father Abraham (has many sons, many sons has Father Abraham and I am one of them, and so are you, so let's all praise the Lord... Sorry, had to be done), we only hear three stories: the call of Abraham in Genesis 12, the story of the three visitors in Genesis 18, and finally, the almost-sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22. Those stories paint Abraham as a hero of the faith, someone who trusted in God to the point where he almost murders his own son. And then Abraham is held up as some sort of example we should emulate, often with the admonition to have the same faith.
But hold the phone! If you read the rest of the stories about Abraham, a much different picture emerges. Abraham has trust issues. He doesn't believe that God can take care of him when the going gets tough. On two separate occasions, he tries to help God out of what seems like an impossible situation. He also almost gives away the Promised Land to his nephew! When we see the complete picture of Abraham, we realize that the almost-sacrifice was the exception to the rule.
That's the thing about the folks we find in the Bible. They are not perfect saints. Not by a long shot. Noah was a sloppy drunk. Samson was a ladies man. Moses had anger issues. Peter had perpetual foot-in-mouth disease. And David? Don't even get me started on him!
What makes these men and women heroes isn't anything in them. Instead, it is God who makes them heroes and He can do the same for us through His grace, poured out for us in Christ's death and resurrection.
That's the good thing about the character's in all Hinck's novels. She presents us with people who aren't perfect but who are still heroes because of God's love for them.
So go get this book and take a look-see. It's well worth the time and effort.

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