Book Review – How to Survive a Shipwreck, by Jonathan Martin

For those of us who have felt the storms of life pick us up, toss us around and deposit us in whereabouts we would never have chosen, this is the book you’ve been waiting for.

This is no memoir of escapism or survival techniques. Neither is this a book filled with clichés or an attitude that diminishes the brutality of the deluges and droughts which we experience. The words here are honest and raw, taking a long hard stare into the eye of the storm.

Reminiscent of great spiritual writers such as Richard Rohr, Brennan Manning and Barbara Brown Taylor, Martin pours out his soul with courageous vulnerability. Sharing from his own driftwood inspired pilgrimage, How to Survive a Shipwreck encourages us not to brace ourselves against the torrents but to let ourselves go within them. In return we’ll receive a perspective that is both beautiful and profound: There is actually life to be found in the unfathomable, hope to be salvaged within the flotsam and jetsam, and a cascade of grace in the falling. And although the eroding elements may have stripped us of all that we thought we once were, something of who we are becoming is being birthed.

What Jonathan shows is that there’s a force at work within the storm — not endorsing it or colluding with it, but usurping its attempts to sift and destroy us. There’s a divine power seeking to save us through the very waters that are attempting to engulf us. But this has always been the paradoxical beauty of the gospel: water becomes wine, sorrow gives way to joy, and death is swallowed up in resurrection through the power of Christ.

Once again, Jonathan Martin proves himself to be a master of Holy Spirit steeped prose. I’d encourage you to drink deep and savour.

Tristan Sherwin is the author of Love: Expressed – Out Now!

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