Six years ago Nick's life was changed when he had an unexpected invitation to dine with Jesus. Sure it was a practical joke, he went and encountered not a prankster, but the Risen Lord. Later his wife had a similar encounter. Those two powerful and bestselling parables( Dinner with a Perfect Stranger and A Day with a Perfect Stranger) by David Gregory gave readers intimate jolts as we pondered how we'd react to such personal visits from Jesus. Would we accept the stranger as Jesus or would we deny his presence? Would we change our lives immediately, or in the daylight of the next day, would we deny having met Jesus? Despite the slim size of each of those books, Gregory left readers with plenty to ponder.
Night with a Perfect Stranger reconnects us with Nick six years later. He and his wife Mattie have settled into life as Christians. Settled doesn't sound appropriate does it? Well, for Nick that is the problem. He feels he has settled into a pattern of belonging to church and saying he is a Christian, but he is disappointed in himself and his growth. He is sure that Mattie is further ahead in her journey and he just can't seem to get back that ecstasy that he felt after meeting Jesus. Then Nick visits his parents in Chicago and old arguments surface causing Nick to take off in the middle of the night in the rented U-Haul truck. When he runs out of gas, he is rescued by a perfect stranger. What follows is another lengthy conversation with Jesus, another lesson in who we become when we accept Jesus and what it means to be loved by God.
For me, many of the doubts and lows that Nick describes match feelings I've had at certain times. Gregory's books aren't about church; they are about a personal relationship with God and how that changes the spiritual person. Again, the format is more parable than story. I suggest more than one reading, and like many series, I would suggest reading all three books within a close time period.
I received an advanced readers copy of this title. The review is my own opinion and I have not been compensated for this review.
My first impression of Night With A Perfect Stranger was less than spectacular. It did not live up to the author's previous two books, Dinner With A Perfect Stranger and Day With A Perfect Stranger. In the first two books, Nick Cominsky and his wife, Maggie, meet Jesus. They each spend time with him and take the first steps in faith as they seek to follow Jesus.
Over time, Maggie's faith grew while Nick's faith seemed to get lost on the way to living his life. As he travels home, Nick once again meets Jesus and has another significant conversation with Him. A conversation, as the subtitle suggests, changes everything.
Though the book did not grab my interest at first, about three fifths of the way through, I found my self in tears. The author uses and illustration of God's love that I had never heard before. God's love is compared to that of a father of an premature baby. That baby has no way to ask for the father's love, that baby has no way to acknowledge that love. Yet the father loves the baby none-the-less. We are that premature baby - not yet fully developed. But God loves us none-the-less. We will grow, we will get stronger - but we are not there yet. And, as that father loves his premature child, God loves us.
Night With A Perfect Stranger is really the story of two conversations. The first, as indicated above, is with Jesus. The second is with a friend who has learned to live out the lessons that Jesus is teaching Nick. It allows Nick to put a face onto the lessons.
Early on, as I read the book, I was drawn to similarities between this story and The Shack. by William P. Young. In the last half of the book, the author draws the reader into the parallel worlds that represent Gregory's and Young's work. Each presents the reader with a glimpse of Jesus in fictional stories, but stories that teach. Readers who have read Gregory's or Young's earlier works, will enjoy the on-going story laid out in Night With A Perfect Stranger.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.