Here is the book review I wrote in our church newsletter for our August book of the month.
I have some books that have shaped my life in powerful and significant ways. I also have some authors who have shaped my life – with practically every book they write or have written. Ron Mehl is one of those authors. In fact, I consider Mehl a good friend who I have only met through his writings. I was introduced to Ron Mehl some years ago through his book, “God Works the Night Shift.” Honestly, I bought the book just for its provocative title. But in reading it, I made a friend for life. I immediately found, bought, and read Mehl’s “Surprise Endings.” Then I eagerly waited for Mehl’s next work to be released. Finally, “Meeting God at a Dead End” was published, and I quickly devoured it. And I was not disappointed – except for the fact that I had to wait again for Mehl to write another work.
The late Ron Mehl was the pastor of the Beaverton Foursquare Church in Colorado until his death in 2003. And his writings were the overflow of his ministry to his beloved, Beaverton congregation, which he and his wife founded in 1973. This is one of the reasons why I appreciate Mehl’s writings so much. He wrote with a pastor’s heart – God-centered, scripture-based, and faith-building. And his writing style was clear, practical, and engaging. But I think I was most touched by the fact that Mehl’s writings were “real-world” (for lack of a better term). His writings really helped me to forge a real-world’s faith. This was because Mehl did not just write and preach about pain – he lived through it. In 1981, Mehl was diagnosed with incurable lymphocytic leukemia, which required him to undergo extensive chemotherapy. And in 1996, he suffered a heart attack that limited his activities. Yet, through it all, Mehl continued to display stubborn faith and to pursue his ministerial calling – which included his writing.
“Meeting God at a Dead End” is one of my favorite books. Filled with godly wisdom, scriptural insights, and practical illustrations, “Dead End” is an enjoyable, encouraging, and edifying read. Mehl makes it clear that every one of us will face dead ends. We will all find ourselves at points where life closes in on us as we deal with painful setbacks, crushing disappointments, family problems, health concerns, financial difficulties – or whatever it may be that causes you to think and feel that you cannot go any further. But the good news is that when you find yourself at a dead end in life, God always has a way of showing up to meet you there to manifest his character, strength, and purpose for you in fresh and new ways. That’s the point “Dead End” makes over twelve wonderfully compelling chapters. In the opening chapter, Mehl writes: “It’s about coming smack up against a brick wall and seeing no gates whatsoever – or even any loose bricks. It’s about coming to the end of our wisdom, the end of our strength, the end of our ideas, the end of our options, the end of our coping skills, and the end of our cherished dreams. It’s about standing in that dark, hopeless place and discovering – beyond all logic, against all hope – that God is very much alive and can fill our little cup to overflowing” (p. 21). Amen.
I am excited to commend my friend, Ron Mehl (whom I have never met!), and his great work Meeting God at a Dead End, as our August Book of the Month. Read it and be blessed. Share it and be a blessing.