Looking for an compelling read this summer? I’ve just finished John Lynch’s latest book, On My Worst Day: Cheesecake, Evil, Sandy Koufax, and Jesus. Now I’m reading it again, this time aloud to Sara. In this book, John takes a look back at the milestone events in his life as God was trying to connect with him. It begins in his childhood and continues to the challenges of the present while revealing God’s ever-present voice to draw us into his reality, which is so different to what we confront in the world.
.John was the lead writer of Bo’s Café, a powerful story of transformation I got to help edit when I was still an owner at Windblown Media. Working with John and the others at Truefaced was a wonderful experience and I found John to be an engaging brother with a gentle spirit and honest heart. While Bo’s Café is great fiction, On Your Worst Day is the actualy story of John’s life and how he discovered a life to be lived in the Father’s affection, and is as enlightening as it is engaging. (On a side note, I get to spend some time with John later this week as I head to Phoenix. We’ve been trying to arrange some time together since our days working on Bo’s Café and finally found a spot where our schedules could coincide. We may get a podcast out of it, but my real hope is just to spend some time sharing our journeys together and seeing what we learn together. I’ve wanted to do that for a very long time certain that God had some purpose in it that I don’t see yet.)
John summarizes his story this way:
The first part of my life I spent trying to make myself lovable so I would be loved. The second part of my life I spent trying to make myself worth of the love I had found. The third part of my life I spent trying to convince myself the love I had found was enough. The fourth part of my life I am actually beginning to experience the life love has given me.
Learning to live freely in the Father’s affection is a bit of a journey to be sure. There are lots of reasons to read this book, but I’ll let two suffice here. First, few people do honesty as well as John does. What I love about this book is its openhearted honesty, letting us look in on his failures and the spurious motives that drove him. One of the things I enjoy most about people who are being shaped by grace is that they no longer need to pretend. They can open up their lives and let others peek into the reality of the struggle so that they might be encouraged in their own. The unvarnished truth is so much more helpful to people than the illusions we shape to make ourselves seem better than we are. You’ll find John’s honesty humorous and poignant all at the same time.
Here’s an example of when John became a preacher and found it so affirming to be the voice up front everyone listens to, but also aware of the trap it provided for him:
It happens all the time almost everywhere. We have a gift and it finds us a platform. We fall in love with being important. People actually think we know what we’re talking about. The greatest drive is to keep the platform, because people start to admire us. So we create a pretend, competent, assured self, hoping to buy ourselves some time. But it makes us less healthy and less teachable. They don’t know we’re lying. God is still growing them up in spite of our carefully polished mush. So a gifted, clever, funny, articulate young preacher blusters and poses as having a maturity and wisdom he does not actually possess.
The second great reason to read this book is to watch the “conversation” develop between John and God. From the wisdom gained over decades. John looks back at those transformative events in his life as he grows up as an unbeliever then in adulthood sorting through painful issues in marriage, raising children, and being the man on the stage when he as yet had no idea how much God loved him. First as an unknown companion and then a close friend, God with immeasurable patience draws John into a greater fullness of his life. John adds God’s voice even in those moments John was unaware of him at the time. My hope is that his reflections will encourage you to make that same connection as God’s perspective seeps into our own as you become more aware of him and what he has been doing throughout your whole life. This is the critical element of a relationship with God, learning to sense his heart and to embrace his perspective.
Read this book. You won’t regret it. This is a wonderfully told story I found myself captured by it even though I didn’t always agree with John’s conclusions. There are a few places here that make me cringe a bit unsure that he captured God perfectly. But they are few, very few. And since we are both people in progress and who knows what any of us will see more clearly up the road. And I fully agree with John in this, even on my worst day I am still deeply loved by God and he has a purpose working out in me far greater than anything the world can do to me.