I recently became a member of Moody Publishers blogger review program in which I receive free copies of certain titles in exchange for my honest reviews. Below is my review of the first title I read. As always, I promise to only share books and other products I think will be meaningful to my readers.
As a military spouse whose husband is called to dangerous places all the time and as someone who has followed Jesus through seasons of trials and suffering and learned deep and freeing spiritual lessons and grown to love deeper and walk freer as a result, and who also has a strong desire to encourage others who are walking through hard times and wrestling with hard questions, I was eager to read this book for the question its title asks and share the messages in it with you. Read my full review below.
In the book Why Does God Call Us to Dangerous Places (2015), Kate McCord answers the question posed in her title, and she does it just as Jesus does, gently, yet powerfully. In each chapter Kate offers a new facet and answer to this heavy question by speaking truth backed by her personal life stories, the stories of others in dangerous places, and ultimately by sharing God’s word and ample scripture references.
Kate bravely opens up her personal sacred spaces by sharing her personal stories from her 9 years spent in Afghanistan as a Christian woman and humanitarian aid worker. Her stories of a foreign and dangerous life the majority of us will never see or experience will draw you in. As you read about Kate’s experiences you will feel as though you’re sitting next to her on the dirt floor surrounded by Afghan women, experiencing the ebb and flow of emotions that wash over her and witness her heart turn to God throughout as though it’s your own heart and then witness a God who does all He says He will do just as Kate does.
Kate’s stories recount the danger, the suffering, the loss, the fears, and more of being called to a dangerous place to serve Jesus and share the Gospel. She not only shares her personal stories, but also shares the direct words and stories of others.
At first I found the excerpts in which the words of others appear distracting and found myself wanting to skim through them because I wanted more of Kate’s own words and story, but then I understood Kate’s message and slowed down to take the time to give honor to each of these stories she included because they weren’t just stories, they were people whose lives matter and deserve to be shared. These inclusions ended up supporting and brought a greater understanding to Kate’s message and emphasizing it as not just her own.
As a reader with direct ties to a loved one called to a dangerous place, a military wife whose husband has been and will continue to be called at a moment’s notice to go to dangerous places, who has experienced my own discomfort and loss unrelated to the dangerous places suggested in this book, Kate’s message is one that is near to my heart that I’ve heard God’s answers to as well because it speaks to understanding God’s love and trusting God in the midst of fear and suffering. However, by the end of her book, Kate had expanded my understanding and opened my eyes in new ways as she provided new solid and powerful answers. Her heart and burden and passion, mirrored those of Jesus and stirred my own heart and burdens and passions.
I also appreciated how Kate sheds light on the places we in America and even in the Western church often close our eyes to, pass by, and live in ignorance of because we desire our comfort and our safety more than living out the love of Christ. Kate shows us the errors in this way and calls out to the church to better understand the Gospel and live for Jesus and be the church He calls us to be.
I’m thankful to Kate for courageously writing her words and sharing each story she shares. Even though she can’t use her real name, even though she can’t speak the real names of the people she shared life with in dangerous places or the names of those lost, she does the important work of still sharing stories and this Biblical message.
At the end of each chapter, Kate offers a discussion guide for the reader to “take time to reflect on what you have read” — this perhaps was my personal favorite aspect of this book. I think the time to stop, reflect, and respond is so needed especially given the messages Kate shares. Each question will grow you spiritually as you seek to answer for yourself.
Clearly, if you’ve ever asked the question, why had God called (insert name here) to this dangerous place, this book is for you.
If you’re a missionary, if you’re an aid worker, if you’re a service member, or if you’ve ever known someone called to a dangerous place, or if you’re simply part of the church, Kate’s book is for you.
If you’ve struggled to understand or give support to the people called to dangerous places in your life, as I have a time or two, if you’ve spent sleepless nights lost to anxiety and worried and fearful and wrestling with God, I urge you to read this book. I believe when you do you’ll feel Jesus gently and powerfully answering your questions and fears head on, and as He does through Kate’s words, you’ll find His presence and His peace.
Ultimately Kate shares important messages and stories we all need to hear with fluidity and simplicity, yet drew me in with the depths of the realities she shared and the subject at hand. Her words might not be the most artistically written, yet her message is strong and clear and supported fully well. It will open your eyes, challenge your understanding, enlighten you, educate you, and enable you to live more boldly for Jesus and follow wherever He calls you and those you love to.
If you read this book, I hope it will help you live and love in dangerous places by seeing how we can expect God in them and live with expectant hearts.