Cruciform Press is a new Christian publisher that makes it their goal to answer the question, “What would a book-publishing company targeted to gospel-centered Christians look like if it began from the realities of 21st century technology?” One of the ways that they have sought to answer that question is by producing gospel-centered books that are both theologically enriching and highly practical. These books are usually less than 130 pages and written in a transparent and cogent manner. The subjects of the books vary widely from servanthood (Servanthood Worship by Nate Palmer) to pornography (Sexual Detox by Tim Challies) to adoption (Reclaiming Adoption by Dan Cruver). Their production goal of publishing one book a month is ambitious and so far, they have met that goal for the first eight months of their existence. Based on the quality of the books that I have read thus far, I hope their goal continues to be met for many years to come.
One of the most interesting books released by Cruciform is titled, “Wrestling With an Angel” written by Greg Lucas. Greg is a police officer but writes with the heart of a father and the insight of a theologian. Most of the book is a compilation of past posts from his blog, http://sheepdogger.blogspot.com/, but don’t let that diminish it’s merit as a well-written publication. The author has produced a concise work that has the rare ability to express the deep truths of the gospel in the context of life’s struggles, disappointments and sin. Much of Greg Lucas’ insight has been gained through the lifelong experience of caring for his 17 year old son, Jake, who is severely disabled. While Greg and his wife are the parents of three more adopted children, it is their experiences with Jake that have revealed the richness of God’s grace in the midst of their weaknesses.
While recalling the struggles and joys of raising Jake, Lucas is able to apply what he has learned in relationship to the Father’s heart and the hope of the gospel. His writing is honest in its pain and yet hopeful in God’s grace. In regards to this he writes, “True desperation is always the most fertile ground for God’s grace to produce an abundant harvest of hope. And each time God has shown us His greatest glory, He has always first revealed our greatest despair.” So true in my life as well. I often found myself crying as I read this book. Crying because he wrote what I have felt in the past. Crying because the Father’s love is so evident in our greatest desperation. Crying because I know I will experience similar struggles and joys in a greater way when my adoptive daughter, Eden, arrives.
I highly recommend this book. It is short. Only 108 pages. It is not expensive. Only $8.45 at www.cruciformpress.com. But most of all it is a great book for all believers. It has the rare ability to challenge the mind and move the heart. You don’t need to be involved with special needs children to be equipped and encouraged by its content. It is a great book for any person who has ever struggled with unanswered prayers, wrestled with God’s purpose in suffering or wondered if the Father even really cares. Through reflection on Scripture and his experiences in raising Jake, Greg Lucas offers hopeful responses to these concerns and more.
Because this blog is focused on the Father’s heart, I close with this thought from Greg Lucas in regards to Father’s presence in the midst of suffering, “But perhaps the sweetest discovery of all was learning more and more about the character of my heavenly Father through the struggles of my disabled son. It is one thing to read about His faithfulness, to talk about His mercy, and to write about His grace. But to experience these things face to face requires a heavenly vision that can only be obtained by walking through the suffering of His providence and coming to the realization that the darkness I have experienced is actually the shadowing shelter of my ever-present Father.”