I’m probably not the first person in the world to say that he hates checking the mailbox. Most of the time all I receive are ads for things I can’t afford, or bills that I must pay. But today I was surprised to receive an early copy of my friend Chad Bird’s new book – Night Driving: Notes From A Prodigal Soul.
Before I go any further, I must confess that I’ve been a fan of Chad for many years. His website contains hundreds of amazing articles that articulate God’s one-way love of sinners like you and me. I highly recommend you guys check out his site if you haven’t already.
I’ve always been drawn to those Christian writers who can penetrate emotions at a deep level. One of the ways they do this is by making their own lives vulnerable to the world. Instead of hiding themselves behind the veneer of “perfectionism,” they willingly lay out their faults and failures for all to see. Look through history and you can see that the most inspirational Christian writers were those who were able to be vulnerable and honest, and those who weren’t afraid to openly talk about their faults or doubts. A few of the people we can name are John Donne, George Herbert, C.S. Lewis and even G.K. Chesterton. In the 21st Century, we are blessed with Chad Bird.
In his new book Night Driving, Chad lays out his whole life, failures and all. He talks about his past sins, addictions, failures and fears. But most importantly, he speaks about hope in the midst of our failures. That hope rests solely on the One who, while we are faithless, remains faithful. As Chad so rightly puts it in his book:
“Our Father rewrites our life stories with the ink of the cross. He takes our botched narratives full of self and fills them with Jesus. “My Son,” he says, “is now who you are. He is your story, your identity, your everything.” You might say we have experienced the only good kind of identity theft. Jesus has stolen away our old identity and given us a new one. He became who we were, and we become who he is.”
If you’re one of those perfect Christians, I would not recommend this book. In fact, it would seem very foreign to you. I would highly recommend this book to my fellow Christians who know they’re a mess – those who seem to do better one minute, but then the next fall right back into their old sins. I would not recommend this book for those continually climbing up the ladder and making progress (as Chad would call the elusive unicorn in his book), but I would recommend it for those who, like me, seem to have problems climbing the ladder of progress. I have a feeling that if more people are honest about their Christian life, every person will need this book.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Night Driving:
“Even in our darkest days, when we sit in empty houses full of broken dreams, when we fight with the demons of our past failures, who we really are remains unchanged. We are the forgiven. We are those bought back. We are those embraced by a Father who, not for a single moment, even on our worst days, will not stop loving us.”