I love to read, and I seem to always have at several books in progress at the same time. (Seeing that my mom was a librarian, this isn’t too surprising.) At this moment, I’m more than halfway through The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a nonfiction book about a woman who lived in the early 20th century and the myriad medical discoveries made with the use of her cultured cells. I’m just beginning a 1,000 page fantasy tome (labeled Volume 1!) And I’m almost done with Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, an autobiography by Anne Rice. That’s a pretty eclectic assortment, wouldn’t you say?
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed some excellent reads. These books may be old, and many are no longer in print, which is a shame. They’re much too good to be forgotten. I’ll be writing about my favorites throughout 2013. Check them out; maybe they’re become your favorites too.
In spite of the two biographies listed above, they aren’t my usual fare. However, there are some biographies of noted Christians that made a significant impression on me. These are true stories about people who can say with Paul, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom, with John and Elizabeth Sherrill
As we move farther away from World War II, the story of Corrie ten Boom’s faith and forgiveness is getting buried under more recent history. When I was a new Christian, back in the early 1970s, everyone was reading her books, and for good reason.
Corrie, her sister, and their father lived in the Netherlands during the war. When they learned what was happening in Germany, they decided to risk their lives to help Jews escaping the Nazis. They built a secret closet into their home in which to hide refugees. Eventually, they and their secret were discovered, and the family was sent to a concentration camp. Only Corrie survived. She suffered unimaginable hardship and loss at the hands of the Germans, yet with God’s help, incredibly, she was able to forgive her tormentors. The story continues in her sequel, Tramp for the Lord.
There is so much wisdom packed into this and the many other books Corrie ten Boom has written. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
(The Hiding Place has been made into a movie. I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know how true to the book it is.)
When thousands of young people checked out of Western society and sought enlightenment in the East, Floyd and Sally McClung set aside the comforts of American suburbia and answered God’s call to reach out to them with the gospel.
In Kabul, Afghanistan, a key stop on the hippy trail, and later in Amsterdam, Holland, the West’s own window to that trail, the McClungs committed themselves to meeting the penniless, the drugged, the sick, and the disillusioned right where they were. Whether among hippy seekers or the addicts and prostitutes of Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light District, the McClungs lived out a message of hope.
Living on the Devil’s Doorstep is a dramatic example of the difference one family can make when they are willing to trust God and walk in obedience to His call for their lives.
This book may have originally been written in 1988, but it’s still very relevant today, as evidenced by the newer 1999 edition that is still in print.
Bruchko: The astonishing true story of a 19-year-old American—his capture by the Motilone Indians and his adventures in Christianizing the Stone Age tribe, by Bruce Olsen
Imagine that you are 19 years old. You feel God calling you to an unreached tribe in South America. But when you apply to traditional mission organizations, they all turn you down. You’re too young. You aren’t trained. Come back later.
Yet, once God has your attention, he doesn’t let go. Bruce Olsen finally gave up on following a traditional missionary path. Instead, he packed his bags, bought a ticket, and just went. What happened next is beyond belief.
If you think all the exciting stories are fiction, then you must read Bruchko. If you wonder whether God is in control, then you must read Bruchko. And if you wonder if miracles still happen today, then, you got it—you must read Bruchko! Just make sure you have time—you won’t be able to put it down.
The new 2008 edition is easily found in bookstores and online.