Note: I am reviewing this book as part of the Blogging For Books program developed by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was asked to write an honest review and received no compensation other than the free book.
I love lazy weekends spent curled up under the covers and getting lost in a great novel.
Unfortunately, two Christmas parties, reservations with the kids to see Santa at a local restaurant, and a shopping trip was quickly robbing me of my lazy weekend. Until "Snowmegheddon" hit. At least that's what my husband is laughingly referring to the 1-2 inches of snow we are getting today that has sent everyone into a frenzy. The predictions started with 3-6 inches and have gradually lessoned as the week went on, but still all around here are convinced we will be snowed in for days and now Christmas parties are canceled and I'm getting a snow day. I'm not complaining.
As a matter of fact, it's given me the opportunity to read a book that I've been anxious to get around to, Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski. Yesterday, while the kids were happily playing a Wii tournament with Dad, I curled up under my covers in a nice comfy chair and read the entire book. I can't remember the last time I did that.
I have to admit, however, that it wasn't long before my comfy chair didn't feel quite so comfy as I was transported with Mike and his traveling companion, Sam, to the streets of Washington DC, Portland, San Francisco, Phoenix, and San Diego as they not only visited the homeless, but lived among them for five months. No, this isn't a novel...it's a true story of two mens' journey from middle class college students to choosing to live homeless and pennyless to learn "personally what it means to depend on Christ for my daily physical needs, and to experience contentment and confidence in Him."
Mike and Sam experienced hunger, humiliation, and discomfort like most of us will never know in search of experiencing Paul's state of contentment, "whether with everything or with nothing". And they experienced moments that seemed more like divine appointments like when they played worship songs to help a mentally disabled homeless woman to fall asleep...
"It was a relief to play and sing for the joy of worship rather than for our dinner. I wondered if God hadn't brought us across the continent just to sing Pamela to sleep on His behalf. The apostle Paul said in Ephesians that God works that way-that we've been created to keep certain appointments for Him, to complete certain tasks (maybe even with a guitar as darkness falls)."
I was brought to tears at the reminder of how much God loves the forgotten... enough to send two men out of their plush existence to sleep on the lowly streets of the homeless and the rats to sing a song to a lonely woman. Enough to leave his own perfect heaven and enter a lowly world as an infant to live among the humans as a perfect example, to die a sacrificial death and make a way for all into eternity. He loves me that much and He loves you that much.Under the Overpass wasn't just a captivating read...it was a challenging read. After all, I couldn't read of experience after experience of Mike and Sam being ignored in church services, being asked to leave church grounds, and being left out of conversations among Christians in a restaurant because of the sight and smell of them without admitting that I very well could have and may have reacted the same way to two homeless men.
And the faith of these two men...I mean, seriously. We've experienced some hard times. We've chosen to live out-of-the-box lives. We've accepted the call to let God choose our family size, to homeschool our children and we've questioned those calls. When my husband lost his job, that was hard. The past year, we have relied upon an almost non-existant income due to his new job being 100% commission and having to build a clientele from nothing. And that was hard. Making promises to debtors, not knowing if we can keep them...walking into a free Christmas Toy Store put on by our church not to give, but to receive...that was hard. But we've never gone without a meal or slept on asphalt, and yet I've still questioned God. Things seem to be looking up for us financially, as Chad is (not surprisingly to me) doing excellent at his work, but what if that ends too. Can I trust God in every circumstance and most importantly, can I find contentment there? I don't think I've done a very good job of being content so far.
I guess I tell you all this to say, that Under the Overpass is a. good. book. It's a book that makes you think and contemplate and hopefully move you into action. And it's definitely a book that I think you should read. For more information about Under the Overpass and to download the first chapter for free click here.
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