"A Gentle Thunder: Hearing God through the Storm," by Max Lucado (Word, 227 pp.; $19.95, hardcover). Reviewed by Wayne Brouwer, senior pastor of Harderwyk Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan.

I have a confession to make. I read every book Max Lucado writes, but I don't keep any of them on the shelves of my personal library. It's not that I always pass them along to others, delightedly sharing this latest colorful creation. Mostly it is just that I like to be baptized, for a few devotional hours, in the rhythmic waves of his soul-refining stories, but then I move on, and they don't move with me. My one-time use of Lucado's offerings may be unique. I know that some of my best friends bathe regularly in Lucado's pools, returning again and again to "When God Whispers Your Name" or "He Still Moves Stones."

And I can understand why. Max is creative. He is interesting. His images fit the flow of our world--short sentences, vivid cameos, wisdom distilled into sound-bites. Reading "A Gentle Thunder" makes me thoughtful and reflective and feeling good 30 times over.

Max seems to know God just a little better than most of us--not that he puts on airs about it. But as Abraham Joshua Heschel said of the Hebrew prophets, some individuals have their ears tuned to an octave higher than normal speech. They hear things most of us never catch. And when these folks listen in on heaven, they can feel pain beyond terrestrial measure and ride wings of joy just beyond the range of human bliss. That is what Max does in "A Gentle Thunder." God dreams. He loves boldly. He gives his beauty away. Maybe we knew that. But likely we never quite perceived it in the terms God's friend Max paints.

And painting is a good term for what Max does. Psychological ...

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