(Blogger’s Note: The following text is the draft prologue to my first book: “Light Wins! …and the darkness is defeated forever.” This non-fiction work is now about 50% complete. After a two-month book-writing drought, I’m ready to get back on the keyboard and finish the manuscript with a target publishing date of Easter 2013. The book will be printed in hard copy and will also be available electronically on Amazon.com I’d surely welcome your fair comment and criticism.)
“The only book that should ever be written is one that flows up from the heart, forced out by the inward pressure. When such a work has gestated within a man, it is almost certain that it will be written. The man who is thus charged with a message will not be turned back by any blase’ consideration. His book will be to him, not only imperative, it will be inevitable.” ~ A.W. Tozier.
Oftentimes, a book is, in fact, judged by its cover. If you saw this cover on a bookstore shelf, would it draw your attention? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
For the moment, this isolated workshop where I write is a place of intentional seclusion.
I’m in self-eclipse mode for the next three days.
And there’s a surprising irony that I’ve done the very thing so many others about whom you’ll read in this book have also done at different points in their lives. I’ve gone away to be alone.
Like them, I have come to this place to tie all the loose ends together. To make sense of it all. To draw conclusions, and to share with you something of benefit. And yes, to shed some light on the places where we all see, feel and perceive the darkness.
This workshop is a special place. The very place where the story begins.
My dad, in one of his finest moments.
Little more than seven weeks ago, this workshop was my dad’s refuge, and it’s now a place where I’m surrounded by his lingering tangible memories.
Sitting now before his desk in a well-cushioned chair, I see his personal handwritten notes on last year’s calendar. His collection of hats on the top shelf now collects dust. There are enough tools in this place to build a fortress. And just beyond reach are the dozens of remaining oxygen inhalers that provided his temporary relief from chronic COPD which ultimately took his life.
The memories are here, but no longer is he. Though he feels close, he is yet just beyond my reach on the other side of a thinly-veiled realm we call Heaven, basking in newfound light.
There was a valuable lesson learned in this place six years ago. On December 5, 2005 I woke up in a panic wondering what I would get dad on his 65th birthday. I wanted it to be something meaningful, and so I sought something that might offer ultimate discernment in his life. Randy Alcorn‘s Heaven, jumped out as I walked down the aisles of a local bookstore. If he could be convinced to read that book, I thought, maybe it would lead to a deeper conversation that I so longed to have with him.
When I found him in this workshop later that morning, he was thankful for the gift and asked me to stay around a while and talk. I shared with him my personal takeaway from Alcorn’s work, and told him how many things it helped me understand.
“I just hope I’ll be able to go there one day,” he said, “but I’ve done so many bad things.”
God didn’t care about the past, I told him. All he wants is for you to ask him into your heart. Don’t make it more complicated than it is, I said. It’s a simple thing.
Dad had a hard time letting go of the past. Alcoholism, bad choices and a sense of self-worthlessness born out of a dysfunctional childhood were things he could never seem to release. When he told me that day that his father actually threatened to kill him on more than one occasion, I could only try to understand.
The “diamond effect” of a solar eclipse, a theme used throughout my book.
Do you believe in Jesus, I asked. And do you believe he was God’s own son who died on the cross for your sins, I went on…
Yes, I do, he said. Well, it’s that simple dad.
That day he prayed with me and asked Jesus to become the lord of his life. We laughed, cried, hugged and two hours later I left so happy. Dad had embraced the light.
I had done it, I thought. What a magnificent thing to share God’s forgiveness with your very own dad. I was so proud. Things would be different now.
But the lesson was yet to be learned.
God showed us all several weeks ago that He is the one who ultimately performs the most magnificent of works. He’s the one who issues the invitation and sheds light into every man’s heart. It’s his perfect timing that created the heavens and the earth, and in his time, he will offer the light of his truth.
Saul had a profound experience along the Damascus road. The light of the truth forever changed him. We all travel down the similar paths Saul experienced. The unknown twists and turns leave us searching for the right way en route to a given destination, when all we need to do is search out the light.
It’s always there. Always has been. Always will be.
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