Title: You Were Born for This
Subtitled: 7 Keys to a Life of Predictable Miracles
Authors: Bruce Wilkinson as told to David Kopp
Publisher’s Synopsis: Anyone can do a good deed, but some good works can only happen by an act of God. Around the world these acts are called miracles–not that even religious people expect to see one any time soon. But what would happen if millions of ordinary people walked out each morning expectingYou Were Born for This starts with the dramatic premise that everyone at all times is in need of a miracle, and that God is ready to meet those needs supernaturally through ordinary people who are willing to learn the “protocol of heaven.”
In the straightforward, story-driven, highly motivating style for which he is known, Wilkinson describes how anyone can be a ‘Delivery Guy’ from heaven in such universally significant arenas of life as finances, practical help, relationships, purpose and spiritual growth.
You Were Born for This will change how you see see your world and show you what you can expect God to do through you to meet real needs. You will master seven simple tools of service, and come to say with confidence, “I want to deliver a supernatural gift from God to someone in need today–and I expect to!” God to deliver a miracle through them to a person in need?
This book is about seeing the miraculous around us and being a part of delivering and receiving those “miracles”. I must confess, I have a very difficult time using the word miracle. People often mock me for that– they assume it’s a lack of belief in them or a discomfort with God so directly intervening in our lives. They are wrong. I am uncomfortable with the loose way the word is tossed around. We use miracle these days like we do love. We say we love ice cream, pizza, a good TV show, our friend, our mother, and our Lord. We also facetiously use it to say we love that which we do not. Miracle has become just as equally and liberally sprinkled over our conversation and I’m uncomfortable with it. I keep trying to teach myself not to misuse love and I don’t want to get into the habit of saying that the amazing is a miracle.
I define miracle very strictly. To me, a miracle is a supernatural event that runs contrary to nature. So I’m even one of those obnoxious people who is not comfortable talking about the “miracle of birth”. I don’t see birth as a miracle. It is a carefully designed and orchestrated event that God set into the natural motion of living on this earth. It is marvelous, wondrous, amazing– but it’s not a miracle. Turning water into wine is a miracle. Feeding five thousand with enough food for four or five tops– that’s a miracle. Especially when you consider that there were LEFTOVERS. It isn’t a miracle if you meet a need that you didn’t know was a need. It’s wonderful, God be praised and all glory to Him for leading you in that direction so He could bless someone through you, but it’s not a miracle.
So, reading a book with the subtitle : 7 Keys to a Life of Predictable Miracles was kind of difficult to do. Somewhere in the first couple of chapters, I decided to see the words “every day miracles” as one word. It was a little mind game I played on myself, but it really helped me to read the book and give it a “fair shot” so to speak. I kept reading everydaymiracles and voila… it seemed to transform into a completely new word that was easier for me to follow. If you decide to read the book (and there truly is a lot in this book that I think Christians today need to read), if the word miracles used in this context bothers you like it did me, perhaps seeing it as one word or changing it to blessings or something will help you.
One of my biggest objections was the seemingly constant reference to The Prayer of Jabez. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I do not like most trends in Christian circles. If it’s “spiritually popular” it usually means I’m not going to like it. I didn’t like Left Behind, The Prayer of Jabez, The Purpose Driven Church/Life, and similarly popular things. I joked once that I expanded my territory by removing the book from my house. Instead, I bought The Mantra of Jabez from Canon Press and that now holds the place Mr. Wilkinson’s book once did. Because of that, I nearly rejected the opportunity to read this book. I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. But as I’ve said before, I LOVE being proven wrong, love being stretched and this book was an opportunity to do that. I’m very glad I did.
Mr. Wilkinson says something in the first few chapters that was a lovely breeze of fresh air over me. I loved it. He gave a picture of heaven (I won’t spoil it for you) and my first thought was, “Finally someone sees heaven a bit more like I do.” I’ll admit, that one thing, combined with really inspiring stories about real people doing real things to make a difference in the lives of others, was worth reading even if nothing else he said was applicable to my life. (And yes, there were things I needed to take to heart, take to the Word, and ask the Lord where He wanted me to make changes– the book is very encouraging that way.)
I would say my biggest objection in this book was a story he told about the death of a child. Without giving away the details, he quite plainly states that because someone didn’t follow God’s nudge, this child died and the implication (or was it more overt– I can’t remember) was that the child’s death was the worst thing to happen to the child. I had several problems with his conclusion and one being that we do not know the mind of God. We don’t know if this child was a Christian and was going home to be with Jesus or if he was lost forever. We don’t know so much and to make the statement that he died as a direct result of some unknown (and possibly non-existent) nudge bothers me. I think it’s wrong.
At the risk of being accused of quibbling, I also took issue with his assessment of his own story. He told about trying to do work and being interrupted until finally he decided to lay it aside and embrace the interruption and the result was heart wrenching and heart warming at the same time. He saw his determination to do “his own thing” as something wrong, but as I read the story, I saw it Divinely orchestrated. Had he not kept working when he did, the interest that the interruption developed in him and his work would potentially (actually almost certainly I would think) have never happened. What he saw as resistance to the Lord’s ‘nudge’ seems to me more like the Lord holding him back from following it until the best moment. Quibble? Yes. But I do think it shows how easily we assume we’re so pivotal in the Lord’s work rather than the Lord’s work through us as being what is so pivotal.
One of my favorite points in his 5 point list of things to do to “experience an everydaymiracle” was the last. Number 5. “Transfer the credit.” I get very frustrated with formulas to follow for “success” in Christianity, life, or anything else for that matter. We’re people– humans. We’re diverse, unique, and formulas while great in the kitchen and the laboratory do not work so well in people. I know why he wrote it with his little bulleted lists and numbered steps. Modern people, particularly Americans, like their “steps to” success. We want a brief to-do list with everything carefully outlined and summarized for us. It’s who we are as a culture and I understand that. I think, to a certain degree, he had to write the book that way, and I don’t fault him for it. However, that last “step”… transfer the credit, it spoke to me because it is the one thing you rarely see in these kinds of lists. It was like a reminder– stating the obvious, yes, but a reminder. It took the sterility out of the formula. I loved it.
A buzzword he coined “God Pocket” blessed my socks off. I have a tendency to be what is kindest to call “thoughtlessly generous”– generous without giving thought to if it is how the Lord would want me to give. I’m a need meeter. If I see a need, I have the funds/ability, I try to meet it. I love to try to help meet needs. However, just because there is a need, and just because I can meet it, doesn’t mean that I am the best one for it and it’s hard to know when/where/how. His idea of the “God Pocket” really encouraged me to become deliberate in preparing to meet needs rather than reacting to the needs in front of me. I think it is what I’ll take from the book and use/value the longest.
So, as I finished the book, I really examined my heart. Was I willing to ask the Lord to let me be a part of the everydaymiracle that Mr. Wilkinson encouraged? Did I want that? Was I willing to risk the kind of vulnerability that it requires? Did I think it was what the Lord wanted of me? I really prayed about it because I’ve known people who lived lives very much like the author describes and they are wonderful lives. However, after much prayer and wrestling with desire over expectation, I truly thought that instead of praying for something to come my way, I’d ask the Lord to prepare me if He chose to bring something my way. Then the words of Isaiah came back to me and I realized that I did want to be sent– even if just once. So I prayed again and I have asked the Lord for just one moment– one everydaymiracle to remind me of how God works in the lives of people, through His people, and as He is glorified, we are blessed.
I’ll share what happens if I can. I don’t know when it’ll come, but I truly expect the opportunity. I look forward to it.
If you want to be encouraged and see what the Lord is doing around us, read the book. If you need to see how the Lord might want to use you in your every day life, read the book. If you want simple ideas for how to see life through a new perspective, read the book. It isn’t theologically flawless. I took issue with several things. However, with its faults, this book had a focus that I can sink my teeth into– doing all to the glory of God, stepping outside our comfort zones to serve others, and seeing opportunities where once we’d have seen nothing.
To win a copy of the book, just post your name and I’ll do the rest. Hopefully I’ll do this book and Stray Affections on Friday.