There comes a time in many believers’ lives when they become disenchanted with religion. Not God, but the trappings that seems to line the halls and walls and skylight-lit atriums. An Elijah moment in the wilderness where he cries, “I have had enough, Lord.”
This is how Travis, the protagonist, feels in Frank Peretti’s book “The Visitation.” He isn’t backslidden or off-course or “needing to get right with God.” No, he’s disenchanted with the “stuff.”
Can you relate?
Frank Peretti is a writing genius. Using a classic mystery tale of a self-declared Messiah in a country town as the backdrop of the novel, he weaves an intricate narrative that walks us through through Travis’s life. We see his highs and lows. When he senses God’s presence and moves accordingly, and when he doesn’t and moves anyway and falls flat on his face. The confusion he faces as he tries to sort out what is Spirit-led and what is rooted in selfish agendas.
Haven’t we all been there at some point? Disillusioned by the corporate church? Betrayed by so called “brothers in Christ?” Left alone when we weren’t meeting up to the standards of others?
I see it all around me. Have you seen it too?
The lay leader who is out of place because the corporation he used to call church doesn’t need his help anymore. Establishments that are polished and perfect and yet lacking in love. Missionaries and pastors who have left the field hurt and wounded.
In Peretti’s book, we observe as someone else walks through these muddy waters. Like Elijah, he feels alone and abandoned. But we are never truly alone. God is walking beside us, whether we’re flying high, falling to our knees in desperation, or just tossing our hands up in bitter cynicism.
If anyone had a right to be cynical it would be Jesus. Betrayed by those He came to save.
So He gets it.
And yet He loves us and is always there to pick us up and give us another mission. Elijah was told, “Get up and go meet Elisha. I’ve got work for you to do.”
I loved this book. And did I fail to mention that it is filled with classic Peretti mystery, spiritual warfare, crime scenes, and page-turning narratives?
It’s a “Kids, you can have cereal for dinner tonight! I’m reading!” kind of a book that you don’t want to put down.
Even though I have closed the cover, the thoughts it stirred inside of me will stay swimming in my mind for quite a long time.