Book Review by Heather Smyth www.smythfamily.wordpress.com
The Faith of Leap
by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch
When I first saw The Faith of Leap I eagerly jumped right into the pages. I agree with the authors that as Christ followers that we are “called to an ongoing, risky, actional, extravagant way of life –a life resonant with that distinctly wild –and yes Christlike –faithfulness of their Lord and Master”. In fact, I believe that at times in my own life that I have lived out my own stories of great faith, in obedience to what God had asked of me, even when others questioned my actions. I have also walked alongside friends who have their own stories of great faith, patiently waiting on God to fulfill His promises. I have witnessed some great stories of faith. More than that, as I read the Biblical accounts of men and women who have trusted God in great faith, they resonate deep within me. The story of Abraham heading up the mountain to offer his son Isaac as sacrifice to God, the trusting, faithful response of Abraham to his son, “God will provide a lamb, my son” and Abraham’s response in naming the place where the sacrifice was made “The LORD Will Provide” are foundational to my own understanding of who God is and my understanding of faith. I was excited to read of more stories of people who have lived out or are in the process of living out their own “faith of leaps” and to be encouraged in my own faith journey of trusting God in obedience to what He has called me to.
In the end, I found this to be a good textbook about the theology of faith, but really, the reading of it was tough. When I think about my friends and the faith stories that they have lived out or even my own stories of faith, they are exciting and wild, filled with groaning and waiting for God to show up in the everyday-ness of life. I couldn’t wait to hear how God would show up next, in my own story or in the story of others. Oh how those stories were missing in this book.
That said, there were many stories of faith and wild adventure outlined in the book. Included in the book were many biblical stories, historical stories and fictional stories but there were few modern day examples of people living today. There were a lot of fictional examples and I learned a lot about Frodo from The Lord of the Rings and his grand adventures. And really, while I like Frodo and all the other hobbits as much as the next person, and while I can relate to their struggles and triumphs, in the end, they are just characters and their journeys are just made up from a clever imagination.
But what about the real, stories of regular people -individuals, families, churches and communities that have lived out their own leaps of faith? Those who have faithfully obeyed God when what they were called to do seemed ridiculous or questionable to those around them, where are their stories? They were few and far between, scattered throughout the pages.
Even more, what about those same groups of people who are in the middle of the their leap of faith, who are still waiting, risking and trusting for God to answer their prayers and to fulfill His promises to them? I mean, when I read the story of Abraham and Isaac on the mountain, I already know the ending. I know that God provides. But what was it like for Abraham to walk up that mountain? “Come along Isaac… God will provide.” That is the Faith of Leap! How do you live in the moment of that faith? How do you walk alongside someone in the middle of their story? Oh how these stories were missing from this book.
Yes, we need to hear biblical, historical, fictional and modern day stories that are complete, that have a beginning and end where God has called his children, where people have responded in faithful obedience and God has responded and fulfilled his promise. These stories all serve to build a foundation of faith and help me and help us in the day-to-day of being obedient and waiting in faith.
By leaving out these stories, modern stories and “in the middle of” stories, this book was left with a big hole.
To be honest, it’s been a while since I have read this book. And while I was excited to start reading, I trudged through the middle and skimmed through the end. This book churned up a lot of emotions and frustration in me and I am surprised that as I revisit this book at the strength at which these have surfaced again.
In the end, I will continue to live out my own stories of faith and share these stories with others. I will continue to stand beside my friends who are in the middle of their own “faith of leap” and encourage them with the stories of Abraham and Noah and others who have walked before us, knowing that God is faithful and that The LORD Will Provide.
If you are looking for a book about the theology of faith, this is it. You’ve found it. But if you want to experience the “faith of leap” for yourself, then save yourself some time and step out in faith, in obedience to what God has called you to do and live it out for real life. You won’t be disappointed.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.