Tuesday, May 29, 2012
I recently read "To Save a Life" by Jim and Rachel Britts. It was the first time I have read Christian young adolescent fiction, and I found it to be very believable as well as relevant to what young adults face in everyday life. Some of the topics covered include: alcohol abuse, drug use, premartial sex, suicide, bullying, peer pressure, parental control, lack of parental interest, living up to standards set by society/parents/peers, teenage pregnancy, contemplation of abortion/adoption, and finding one's own identity. The most important reoccurring theme is "making your life count."
I fell in love with Jake. He is an All-American jock, every day good guy, who struggles with living up to the expectations of his parents as well as his peers. He is well liked by everyone who meets him, and he has worked hard to earn a scholarship to play basketball for Louisville--his life long dream!
After an unexpected turn of events, Jake is haunted by the guilt of Roger's suicide, his former best friend. Over time, Roger and Jake have drifted apart. There friendship takes a nose dive when Jake chooses to attend a high school party rather than hang out with his friend. They haven't spoken in years...
As Jake attends the burial services for Roger, he begins to question his life and its purpose. Jake is befriended by Chris, youth pastor at a local church. Chris encourages Jake to develop a relationship with Christ. Chris says, "If you are willing--I mean really, truly willing--to search hard, and to ignore everything that friends might say or whatever might happen, I'm telling you, Jake, you're going to find that He's more worth it."
As Jake determines to live an authentic life that reflects Christ, he becomes the victim of ridicule from his friends, his girlfriend breaks up with him, his parents arguments are becoming more frequent...life seems to be getting harder. As Jake shares his frustrations with Chris, he reminds Jake that "God's not some genie, or a vending machine, or someone who magically solves every issue for you. And He's not 'worth it' because he makes your life all better and all your problems disappear. That's not how He works." Then he reminds Jake, "But God is on your side."
Overall, this was an enjoyable and quick read. It will remind you that faith is a journey. It reminds you that life is too short to wait for God to use you. Instead, it encourages you to allow God to use you NOW. You just may Save a Life.
You can buy the book or read an excerpt here. You can read more about the authors, Jim & Rachel Britts and their ministry here. There is a sequel, called "Jake's Choice" that picks up where this story leaves off. (I do plan to add this to my reading list.)