There seems to be no end, on the virtual bookshelf, of relentlessly positive religious tomes. Nationally-known mega church preachers seem to be especially susceptible to offering patented faith formulas for wealth, victory and happiness. They may be most likely to promise the moon and the stars to the buyers of their books.
But the Bible itself portrays its main characters, from Job to Jesus, as suffering — often unjustly.
This latter may be a hard sell, but where is the nonfiction faith book for those contemporary Christians who do find anguish and unfairness as part of the package that comes with their faith in God?
Texas City author Micah Duckett begins her new book with an ambulance, a bent bicycle and an apparently lifeless son lying on the edge of Loop 197. It then moves on to the incredible attack that left her handicapped, and manages to include the word “not” in every chapter of her new work, “Come as You’re Not.”
It’s not the kind of tome that will garner the fair-weather faithful.
“People have been telling me for years that I should write a book,” she said. “Maybe they heard me speak at an event, sat in one of my Bible study classes, or attended a seminar I taught on overcoming. My impetus was, and remains, pointing people to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I have faced life with a new normal and searching for my new purpose since my lifestyle changed drastically after I became disabled.”
Duckett’s book is written to read easily in terms of vocabulary and its prose, but as an antidote to “feel-good Christianity,” it presents a bigger challenge. Honestly, one might well ask, how do you love a God who permits or even requires you to endure pain, loss and injustice.
It’s the kind of vexing question saints, theologians and philosophers have wrestled with for over two thousand years.
“It was time to write this book because everything that I had overcome by his grace now converged for a new purpose; use my stories to showcase God’s character, care and provision. There were so many ‘nots’ in my life that the title came easily to me, ‘Come as You’re Not.’ The tagline immediately followed, ‘because God welcomes you as you are.’”
The book was published not long before Harvey hit our county, but that hurricane would fit right in with Duckett’s theme.
“After Hurricane Harvey,” she said. “I realized there are thousands of people who might need some of the messages in my book. Many of them have lost everything and must face life with a new normal. All of us have a ‘Harvey,’ something that rudely interrupts the course of life. Therein the twists and turns, and ebb and flow of survival we discover the mettle of God’s character and care.”
Her pastor, the Rev. Steven Laufer, of Clear Lake’s University Baptist Church, is a fan of her collected stories.
“Micah has woven together a fantastic tapestry of personal stories and anecdotes that illustrate how God embraces us and loves us, even with all of our dysfunctions, failures and limitations,” he said. “So many of her stories, told with creativity and flair, provide poignant illustrations of how one can see God’s presence in the midst of life’s many ups and downs. Those wrestling to find God’s presence in the midst of life’s stormy seasons will especially be blessed by her account of patience throughout her own trials and learning to see God’s hand all along the way.”
Jay Carnes, best known as the owner of Carnes Funeral Home in Texas City, has seen his share of death. Perhaps that has helped him appreciate the challenging message of Duckett’s book.
“What a refreshing read,” Carnes told Our Faith. “I really enjoyed the way the chapters flowed and how the author wrote about her own personal experiences and how each of them were able to draw her closer to God. I was easily drawn into each chapter and each situation as it could easily relate to anyone. I came away from this book with the reminder that nothing is too big for God if we surrender to him. It is a great book of encouragement and reminds us that God loves us just as we are.”
“Come as You’re Not” is published by a division of Thomas Nelson and available at local bookstores and Amazon in both print and digital form.
What’s the bottom line for this new work?
“My book invites you to come to God with all that you’re not, and live the hero you were meant to be,” Duckett said.