Wild Goose Chase (pt. 3)
I finished the Wild Goose Chase a couple days ago, but just now finally getting around to posting the final installment of my review. Click here for a link to the other two parts and the introduction information to this book by Mark Batterson.
Chapter six is titled “Sometimes it Takes a Shipwreck” and it discusses the Cage of Failure. In a nutshell, the discussion in this chapter is about the detours, diversions, disasters, and delays that we encounter in life and how God can (and will) use them to complete His purposes for His will and our life. More simple and beautiful reminders of truth are found in the body of this chapter regarding the sometimes perceived “tragedies in life.” Mark reminds us; “We can’t control what happens to us. But we can control our response.” I have held to this mindset for a long time now and can testify how beneficial it has been for the health of my own journey with Jesus. Specifically, I often recall the following scriptures which I find helpful “controlling my response.”
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8)
There is no argument or doubt that life can be pretty tough and days can get extremely dark during the seasons of our life. Sometimes the pressures of reality can be so heavy that we feel as though we might not be able to recover from them; however, God gives the believer strength to overcome anything that this life can deal and while we might be going through a tragedy or tumultuous time we still have the capacity to “choose our attitude” Batterson reminds us (p.124).
This is a great chapter filled with encouragement, instruction, and direction. I found it helpful in affirming for my own thinking and believe that it will be the same for anyone willing to receive the words in whatever season of life they may find themselves. Here is one last snippet that deserves sharing here and then we’ll move on to the next chapter…
“If you feel like you’re stuck in a tragedy, here’s my advice: give Jesus complete editorial control over your life. You have to quit trying to write your own story. And you need to accept Jesus not only as Lord and Savior but also as Author. If you allow Him to begin writing His-story through your life, it’ll give the tragedy a fairy-tale ending. I’m not promising a life without heartache or pain or loss, but I am promising a different ending.” (p.125)
Chapter seven reveals the last of the six cages introduced earlier in the book, the Cage of Fear, and is titled “Good Old-Fashioned Guts.” The primary theme and discussion of this chapter is to encourage the believer to live out their life to the glory of God without fear. Venturing out in the Holy Unknown can be a scary thing; however, we can have the assurance to know that God loves us and has ultimately planned for our best in His plan for our life and His glory. Pastor Mark makes a great point with these words; “We are so afraid of making the wrong decision that we make no decision. And what we fail to realize is that indecision is a decision” (p.144). I especially liked this point because I have shared similar thoughts with my own children and in the context of teaching sermons. The version of this quote I have shared comes from a song I remember by the rock band, Rush, called Freewill and goes something like this; “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice…” We often think that by putting things off or not making a decision excuses us from the responsibility that “freewill” puts on our life, but that cannot be further from the truth. Not choosing and/or not deciding is indeed a choice and a decision.
This was really a great chapter and speaks very much to our current post-modern generation in my opinion. I think that we are not reminded often enough in the teaching of the “self-esteem gospel” about the points Jesus made referring to, “In this life you will have difficulty. But be encouraged, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Batterson reminds us of this thinking as well when he reminds us of the “unnamed saints” from the letter to Hebrews:
“When was the last time you read the eleventh chapter of Hebrews? Not every story ends with seeming success. People were sawed in half, stoned to death, and chained in dungeons. But our Wild Goose chase doesn’t end when we die…” (p.147)
My own passions were stirred and fanned into flame when I read the portion of this chapter that (I think) called out the “churchlings.” (Please note that “churchlings” is my word and not associated with anything that Mark Batterson has written). Mark qualifies his next words stating that his intent is to challenge rather than criticize and I echo the same sentiment; however, the point he makes is like a 2×4 swung at full strength connecting square to the forehead…and I think he is spot on. Batterson writes:
“Like the Israelites, we want Moses to climb the mountain for us. After all, it is much easier to let someone else pray for us or study for us. So the church unintentionally fosters a subtle form of spiritual codependency… I certainly believe that church plays an important role in the spiritual rhythm of our lives. And we experience a unique synergy when we come together as Christ followers and worship God corporately. But do you really think God’s ultimate dream for your life is to see you sit in a pew for ninety minutes every week listening to a message and singing a few songs? Is that the barometer of spiritual maturity? No Way!” (p.154)
The Wild Goose Chase is wrapped up in a summary form in the final chapter, Madonna of the Future. A few more really good quotes/thoughts are included in this chapter too, but I’ll save those surprises for your own reading. I heartily encourage the book and plan to purchase copies myself to hand out to the leaders in my local church. If you are not much of a reader or don’t have a lot of time to devote to reading, you can be on the lookout for the audiobook to be released at some point in the future. I seem to recall not too long ago Mark posting on his blog that he had been in the recording studio to produce the audio version of Wild Goose Chase…and that means it will be read aloud by the man who authored it. Cool!
Special thanks to the people of Multnomah and Random House for allowing me to participate in this blog tour of the Wild Goose Chase. I hope my review encourages you to read the book as I think you will be blessed and inspired; I know I have been.