Everyone hates cancer, a miserable disease that causes so many to suffer and worry. Imagine my surprise then when I picked up a novel that illustrated witnessing faith while facing struggles, in this case breast cancer.
When I read fiction, cancer is the last thing I want to think about. Yet somehow this book was on my “to read” list. It’s a good novel and I recommend it, but I must say there were parts that were hard to read because, frankly, Esther was fighting a battle I hope I never have to face, a battle some family and friends have fought, some winning, some losing.
Since having melanoma in 2013, that fear sits in the back of my mind. Abnormal test results send my mind where I wish it wouldn’t run.
About Grace in Strange Disguise
So, when I started reading this book, Grace in Strange Disguise by Christine Dillon, I started wondering what it was that had drawn me to it. You see, I keep a list of books that I think sound interesting and every so often, I purchase them or find them at the library. All I have is my list and whatever the back copy is that teases my interest. I bought this book so I decided I’d see where it would take me. I’m glad I read it because I learned a lot, not just about the scary journey of a cancer patient, but the exciting journey of someone who discovers peace and hope in Jesus.
Esther, the daughter of a mega-church pastor, is young and busy planning her wedding when she discovers she has Stage 3 breast cancer. Her father and fiancé believe if she has enough faith, she will be healed and not need a mastectomy. When God doesn’t heal her, she has a crisis of faith, but someone challenges her belief system. Determined to prove this woman wrong, she discovers she is the one who was wrong, so this causes her to do something she has never done before—read the Bible.
Gives examples of witnessing faith
Determined to tell people about Christ and her newfound peace, she does her best to live out her faith. For those who are afraid of getting shut down or ridiculed for their faith, this novel illustrates how one can go about sharing in nonconfrontational and nonthreatening, authentic ways.
New and refreshing ways to share are offered in realistic settings, complete with the butterflies and fears that come with it. But what drove her to do this was what should drive us all: who are we trying to please, God or people? If we believe what we say we believe, then we should be shouting from the rooftops and pointing to the hope found in Jesus. There is no fear for those who run to Jesus, though they may still struggle with emotions of leaving loved ones. Death isn’t final for those trusting their future to Jesus. It’s simply changing from one mortal existence to an eternal one in another, better, happier place.
Pastor’s messages echo same message
After I read this book, I listened to my pastor give two messages about what it means to really believe and accept the testimony of Jesus. Entrusting our lives only comes through a relationship with Christ. We can’t just be converts (people who change from one belief system to another); we have to receive Christ and experience being made new again by the Holy Spirit (what believers call being born again). Those who believe need to obey and walk out His teachings, be a disciple and make disciples (those who spread the teachings). While I wanted to tell you about the book, I also wanted to share why it impacted me: it portrays what making disciples looks like. Because this message repeated itself so often, it seemed important for me to share with you.
We mustn’t be afraid to share life changing information with people. Instead fear missing the boat and being told, “I don’t know you,” when you face Jesus. No, we fear the wrong thing. People may reject us, but rejection from people won’t kill us. Rejection from God sends us where we don’t want to go. Don’t reject Jesus.
Read more stories of overcoming
This novel is set in Australia. Since the author is Australian, you will not only be immersed in what life is like in Australia but become familiar with some phrases not used by Americans. However, the story is relatable to us all. We face spiritual foes and physical foes. You know who holds your very life. Live for Him. Make your life count.
Esther wins her battle with cancer and overcomes many obstacles. It’s the overcoming we can benefit in learning about when we read this story.
God bless you. I hope you’ll pick up a copy of this book, but more importantly, I hope you will read the Bible.
Do you know of other novels that illustrate witnessing faith? Share your recommendations.