The Journey: How to Live by Faith in an Uncertain World by Billy Graham — Book Review

by Patrice M. Wilson

The preface of this evangelical invitation begins with a simple idea: “You can’t change the past. But with God’s help, you can change the future.” (p. vii) This book, then, appeals to those who wish or have decided to make a change in their lives for the better, no matter what has happened in the past. Graham sets out a step-by-step introduction to Christian faith, beginning with the first Chapter titled: “Welcome to the Journey,” using the Old Testament metaphor of the Israelites’ sojourn not only to the Promised Land, but also all the way to the New Testament, when the Messiah walks the earth with His saving graces and teachings, to give the same hope to Israel and to their world, that Graham is giving to people of this age.

When people reach a crossroad at which they know there is something more to life that can give it meaning, they would do well to read Graham, who tells them that there are two paths in life: one more commonly taken, but lonely and sad; the other less worn but walked with Another, and others, based on Promises that actually are fulfilled, and will “take you home”. This is the opposite of the world’s “promises” which never come through. Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” can be read with the same spiritual significance, as it often is; but Graham uses impeccable logic as he plots out the reasons for choosing the Christian path.

First, he explains who God is and why He loves us; then he tells us clearly who Satan is and his role as God’s arch-enemy and our “Adversary,” which is the meaning of his name. I was impressed with his clarity, his clear and personal voice, using “you” and “we” throughout the book. The four sections of the book are titled: “The Journey Begins”; “Strength for the Journey”; “Challenges along the Way”; and “Staying the Course.” This last one gives very good advice on growing older and closer to the time of our departure from this earth, the time, as he referred to earlier, of going home. Of course, his vast knowledge of Sacred Scripture comes through in every section, every step, every paragraph, every sentence.

No matter where readers of this fine work may be on their journey of life, they will find Graham’s words to be an important part of their conversation with God, with those others on the Christian path, and with their inner selves. Maybe this sequence of communication will start with the inner self, if the person is searching for that something more, and lead to God. It is always uplifting and encouraging to read such a book as this. If you know someone at the crossroad, I highly recommend that you make a gift of this book to that person.

Born Catholic in Newark NJ, raised in Catholic schools, Patrice M. Wilson has a PhD in English from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, having earned her MA there and her BA at the University of Maryland, College Park. She was editor of the very fine Hawaii Pacific Review for 16 years while teaching at Hawaii Pacific University. She has three chapbooks of poetry with Finishing Line Press, and one full-length poetry collection with Christian publisher eLectio Publishing. Dr. Wilson recently spent five years in the cloistered Carmelite monastery in Kaneohe, HI. She is now a retired professor living in Mililani, Oahu, HI.

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