Saturday, September 09, 2006

My God and I by Lewis Smedes

Lewis Smedes, former Calvin College professor and later professor at Fuller Seminary in California, wrote a spiritual memoir as his last book before his death. My God and I wasn’t intended as his last book when he wrote it (he died as the result a fall before it was published) but it is a fitting end to a distinguished career. Smedes’ pleasant writing style drew me in as I read about his grandparents and parents. The story of how he grew up and his path to academics was fascinating to me partly because I was familiar with many of the places and names that he mentions but mostly because his story is a compelling one. Smedes is able to see God’s hand in his life in a way that is not at all happy-clappy or syrupy. He talks openly about how his prayers for terminally ill people rarely if ever makes a difference in their healing but yet he continues to do it. He gives an unvarnished look at his own battle with depression and how he praises God for his medication.

Overall I found My God and I a delightful read. Smedes keeps things moving, never dwelling long on any one subject. The first few chapters, outlining how God used a woman who was evicted from her own house because of a pregnancy gives us a concrete example of how God can use a situation in which we see little hope and turn it to good – that woman’s grandson became a world-class theologian and inspiration to many people, including me.

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