Sunday, June 29, 2008

Reflection for the Week-- June 29, 2008

Friendships and Forewords

This is the final part of our three part series highlighting my new book, When God Disappears. Thank you for your patience and indulgence as I shared bits and pieces of the book with you.

Sure, many may think I am just trying to sell copies of the book. And, of course, there is some truth in that. But, not for what might appear as the obvious reason.

When God Disappears is not the book I longed to write. The project that meant the most to me is A Positive Life, a more autobiographical account of my life and the lessons the journey has taught me.

But, Regal Books (to whom I am so grateful) took a special interest in the proposal that would become When God Disappears. At first, I was surprised. But, after finishing the manuscript, woven through my recovery from heart surgery and a host of other issues in my life, I realized God's great wisdom in allowing this book to be published first.

When God Disappears is deeply personal, and not just because of the words on a page. The effort (yes, that is the best description) in writing the manuscript, recounting the stories and deciphering the angles of God's message, proved one of the most significant experiences of my life.

The project also afforded me connections to some of the finest, Christian brothers and sisters. My emails with Len Sweet were invaluable for broaden my understanding of God's plan. Vivan Berryhill reminded me of the simple, powerful grace of God for changing the world-- beginning in our own backyards. Reconnecting and reliving the stories of so many friends and heroes revived my deep passion for Jesus and for Jesus' people.

And, what can I say about Deanna Favre? I read Deanna's book shortly after it was released. It is a wonderful, candid testament of her journey with Brett, as a single mom, and as a cancer survivor. She is truly a remarkable and dear friend in Christ.

I was humbled when Deanna agreed to write the foreword to When God Disappears. But, I was overwhelmed when her words in the foreword returned with such grace and beauty.

Sure, I was thankful for the compliments Deanna shared about me and the book, but I was amazed at her recounting and praise for God in the midst of the work. More than encouraging me (which she did), Deanna found the encouragement of God's loving touch and shared it (as she always has) so that those "to whom love and peace are strangers, will find a home in Christ".

And, so, please indulge me again-- and sit back and take a few moments to read Deanna's foreword. Please look past the references to me (really!) and see the heart of a God who has not disappeared--- for we are never alone!

Foreword by Deanna Favre
Author, Don't Bet Against Me

"When God Disappears" is an amazing book that will, no doubt, touch the lives of all its readers. It teaches of God's love and patience for us. It represents one of the most unique writing experiences that I have ever encountered. It will give you the hope you have so desperately been searching to find. It will change your life!
Shane Stanford's life is an example for all to follow. Living with hemophilia, Hepatitis C, and HIV is associated with repression and discrimination, rejection by family and friends, and fear of the unknown, yet he has sustained an unwavering faith. Many people would have turned away from God, would have given up hope, and lost faith. Shane continues to see God's grace and teach others about a loving God who never gives up on his children. He is unbelievably talented. He has a unique way of writing that touches the very soul of the reader. I have gained strength from his words. God had a hand in our paths crossing. I am a better person for meeting Shane and reading his book. I feel blessed by our encounter.
Without a doubt, there are times in the lives of every individual that the giants seem too big, the trees too high to climb and the rocks too plentiful for those who wish to throw them. Shane goes straight to the heart of everyone, because all of us have experienced burdens such as rejection, pain, loss, failure and sorrow. These are the times that deepen our faith.
The sting of death has touched all of us. Shane reminds us that it is our faith and trust in God that soothes our wounded spirit in these painful moments of life. Death cast a lonely darkness that can only be illuminated by the hand of God. Shane's words walk us gently to the foot of the cross where acceptance always lives, where death and illness cannot exist, trust is never lost, promises are never broken, and everyone is always welcome.
We have all been guilty of betrayal at some point in our lives. How are we to react when someone betrays us? We have all been a victim of this. Someone chooses to momentarily look away from our friendship and deceive us. Thank you Shane for showing us that forgiveness is the only path to restoration.
Shane helps us to repair the bridge of our lives. Many times, as humans do, we forget to include God in our lives and decision making. We only turn to God during the trying times, the times when we are going through trials and tribulations. This is when we decide to reach out to God. When things are great in our lives, we forget to praise God and include him in our decisions. Most of these decisions made without the help of God are remorseful. God should be in our lives daily, not just during the trying times.
I am so grateful that Shane has allowed me to be a part of his journey. By writing this book, he will help so many get to the place they need to be in their walk with our Savior. I pray that you too, will be ministered to and touched by Shane's amazing words. What will you do with the insight that you gain from this book? It is for you to decide. However, it is my hope that you will choose to live a life in honor of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is truly amazing!

Thank you, Deanna.

Be Salt and Light-- You Matter!

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