I like to travel and I like to read, but I don’t really like travel that involves planes and I don’t love most contemporary fiction. There, I said it out loud, and I hope all you fiction readers don’t try to convert me. I used to read a lot of fiction, but I so much more enjoy nonfiction, biographies, and history that I just don’t find myself digging many fiction books. So when we review that genre, Ashley and Audrey will most likely be doing those. Unless they make me. The subject of this post is a nonfiction, travel, spiritual encouragement book by a bestselling fiction author. That should make just about everyone happy!
Lynn Austin is a prolific Christian fiction writer, and if you like fiction, you should be reading Lynn Austin, especially her Chronicles of Kings series. In fact, I DID like that series so much I might not let Ashley review them and I’ll do it myself, Mom’s prerogative. Pilgrimage is a non-fiction book that reads as part journal, part travelogue, part Bible study and totally worthy of your time.
After a season of loss and change, Austin finds herself spiritually dry, having lost her joy and not being able to put her finger on the reason. After all, she writes, “…shouldn’t a Christian’s life be an abundant one, as exciting as Christmas morning, as joyful as Easter Sunday?” Common to people of faith is the sense that when life is hard, we should still feel good, after all, don’t we know the Truth, and isn’t His grace sufficient? I appreciated that the book opens with some frank admissions of spiritual struggle and doubt, right away you get the sense of being on a level playing field. This is not a book where the author will tell you what is wrong with you and how to fix it, this is a book where one sister shares with another the struggles we all face, and the hope that we can stand on.
She does this by weaving the truth of God’s word and His promises into the account of her trip to Israel. Having been there in the past to do research for her novels, she is now just a tourist, a member of a group seeing the sights and hoping to be revived. Her descriptions of each destination paints a vivid picture for us of both the site and the biblical accounts that took place there. Her observations of her surroundings are set in the context of scripture in a way that helps us see what she sees, and hear what God is speaking to her heart. In speaking to her, you’ll most likely find He is speaking to you as well.
Whether standing where Jesus stood, or in Hezekiah’s tunnel, or the watching a gardener trim trees in Gethsemane, she brings us with her on her journey to a faith refreshed, and ours is refreshed, too. It’s not just her journey to a deeper faith, it’s ours as well as we go with her on her Pilgrimage.