Redeemed for a Reason by Amy Garner. WestBow Press, 2016. Purchase here.
I would describe Redeemed for a Reason as an introduction or re-introduction to Christian living. By Christian living, I mean the practical aspect of growing and maturing in our faith. And by re-introduction, I mean that some people may unfortunately think of “becoming a Christian” as a one-time event rather than the beginning of a journey – and they need to be reminded that they were redeemed for a reason! Note the book title puts redemption first. Some books that are about “our purpose” can end up more about us than about God. This is not one of those books! It is biblically and theologically sound, and our purpose flows from Christ.
The book has a unique format that I’ve not encountered before, and it worked well. The beginning of each chapter is italicized, and the author shares narrative from her personal life story. Then it moves into the biblical content. The author clearly knows the Scripture well, skillfully interacts with biblical teachings/stories, and applies them.
By the way, the first chapter begins in an abortion clinic. Later on after getting married, Garner experienced infertility. She was living a Christian life at this time, but she did not pray for a child, even though she wanted one, because she felt she did not deserve to be a mother. After all, she had an abortion. She refused to ask God for forgiveness, essentially seeing it as unforgivable. Garner finally surrendered this burden to God and found forgiveness.
The book is divided into 3 sections: Reconciliation, Transformation, and Restoration. The first section focuses on sin and our need to be reconciled with God through Christ. This is the critical starting point for each of us. The second section is about growing in our faith and the process of life transformation. It covers topics such as the Holy Spirit, prayer, the importance of Bible reading/study, and discovering your spiritual gifts. The final section emphasizes that God redeems and transforms our life so that we can bring Him glory. A plant analogy in the book summarizes that: we began as a seedling through our redemption, put down roots as we grow spiritually, and finally it is time to bloom.
The author has good writing ability, and the content flows. I’d recommend this book to new Christians or as a refresher course for certain Christians. There are Christians who were never properly grounded in their faith when they came to Christ, and this book can help establish them in basic Christian living. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, this book would be tremendously encouraging to those who feel they have “really messed up” and have doubts God can transform their life. Yes, HE can! You were redeemed for a reason.