Thursday, January 2, 2014

Forgotten Road by Randall Arthur

Randall, author of the classic Wisdom Hunter, has penned another novel that will have readers discussing its concepts for a long time.

Nashville music star Cole Michaels is caught up in the prosperity and success theology. His career skyrockets to the top. But then tragedy strikes in the death of his young son and his wife shortly after. Unable to handle his own role in the tragedy, he resorts to alcohol, causing only more tragedy.

While serving his prison sentence, Michaels is befriended by the prison chaplain, a relationship that changes his life. But even as he is getting his life back together, there is another who is bent on taking that life from him.

This is a novel characteristic of Randall's previous works. This novel is not just to entertain, although it is entertaining. Arthur has a message he wants to communicate and he does that through the lives of characters in this novel.

Michaels gets caught up in a teaching we see in the church today: God wants you to be a success. That theology is no comfort to him when his life falls apart. God send others into Michaels' life to bring him back to a correct understanding of God's plans and desires for a Christian's life.

Forgiveness is a big theme in the novel too. Michaels must learn to forgive himself, even as God has forgiven him. That theme runs straight arrow through to the end where Michaels has the opportunity to make the ultimate act of forgiveness.

Another theme is restoration. God had certainly given Michaels a gift in the music area. That is, in a sense, taken away and then restored. But it is restored to a different level, a level that is in submission to God.

It is interesting to see what restores Michaels to a right relationship with his Savior. A motorcycle plays a huge part. There are a number of men who come alongside him to help him progress to the place God wants him to be. Another item that plays a huge part is a violin. He had become a star with his violin, one he destroyed at his lowest ebb. Later another is given to him and rather than leading to success, this violin leads him to servant-hood.

By the way, if you read the Wisdom Hunter all those years ago, you'll appreciate an elderly Jason Faircloth's appearance in this novel.

This is a great novel for men. But I enjoyed it too. It certainly gave me much to think about. Randall notes at the end of the book that many of the events in the novel are based on real experiences. He must like his motorcycle group as there was more than enough narrative about Michaels and his motorcycle and the motorcycle group. (Some of that could have been left out, I thought, making the book not so long.)

The title of the novel comes from a piece written by a friend of Randall's daughter. This quote gives you an idea of its meaning in the narrative: “...I cannot deny that He is asking me how far I am willing to walk down the road of complete abandonment to everything but Him, the road that has been gladly forgotten in today's society.” (300)

If you are ready to face the challenge of walking your own forgotten road, you might want to read this book. It will inspire you.

Go to http://randallarthur.com/ to watch a trailer, listen to a radio interview, and find out more about the book.

Randall Arthur and his wife have been career missionaries since 1975. They have planted churches in Norway and Germany. Randall's first novel was Wisdom Hunter showing the destructive effects of legalism. It and his following novels were born out of his personal struggles.

Life Image Publishers, 604 pages. You can buy the book from Amazon here.

I received a complimentary copy of the book through the Book Club Network for the purpose of this review.
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