December 21, 2012

Wild Grace by Max Lucado

Here's my hunch: we've settled for wimpy grace. It politely occupies a phrase in a hymn, fits nicely on a church sign. Never causes trouble or demands a response. When asked, "Do you believe in grace?" who could say no? This book asks deeper questions: Have you been changed by grace? Shaped by grace? Strengthened by grace? Emboldened by grace? Softened by grace? Snatched by the nape of your neck and shaken to your sense by grace? God's grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. [...] Once you encounter it, you'll never be the same.
-from Wild Grace by Max Lucado

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I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Book Sneeze in exchange for an honest review. 

There have been times in my life when I don't know how I managed to get through certain trials and remain intact. Surely by now I should be damaged and hopeless, should have given in to vices or changed who and what I put my faith into. I used to explain that it's like God has put a shield over me to protect me from harm; after reading Max Lucado's Wild Grace, I have realized it wasn't a shield per se, but God's wild grace that protected me.

Wild Grace is a non-fiction book that has been adapted for teens to break down grace in a less superficial way than it is often explained or used. Grace, Lucado explains, is "simply another word for God's tumbling, rumbling reservoir of strength and protection" (59). Grace is something God has given us through Jesus' death that trumps all of the bad things we've done and experienced and helps us persevere through the bad things we have yet to encounter. This book further helps the reader recognize how grace can help them cope with sin, guilt, and other troubles while explaining how to receive that grace from God. The reader is also encouraged to show grace to others upon receiving God's grace for themselves. 

As a teen, I was never very intrigued by non-fiction books because there wasn't a story to capture my attention. I know this isn't the case with all readers, but I always wanted to skip ahead because material, especially in self-help type books, wasn't intriguing enough. I think what sets Wild Grace apart from the rest are the questions and talking points the book contains throughout. These questions helped focus my attention in on connecting the material with my real life experiences. Questions like, "When was the last time someone did something truly awful to you? Did you respond with a grudge or with grace?" (90) not only encourage the reader to think about what they're reading, but it also provides a great segue for parents to discuss the book with their teens. 

Similarly, there are personal stories scattered throughout the book to bring the content to life. While I didn't particularly connect with all of these stories, I think as a teen reader I would be more interested and they would make more of an impact on me. I think these stories can help entertain the reader while aiding in comprehension of material. I particularly enjoyed how Max Lucado shared his struggle with alcoholism and his experience drinking as a teen; this is just one of the many examples of how Lucado does not talk down to his reader and steps down to their level to teach and encourage. Such transparency is what makes Max Lucado one of my favorite Christian authors. 

Bottom Line: Although this book is adapted for teens, Wild Grace is a perfectly acceptable book for someone of any age, especially "baby Christians". I think this would make a particularly great stocking stuffer or last minute Christmas gift to any teen in your life who you should be reminded of God's love and grace for them. 4/5 Stars for Adults / 5/5 Stars for Teens

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