“What is a man profited. . .if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
Anna Nicholson seems to have it all – beauty, brains, a wealthy upbringing, a handsome and wealthy fiance, basically everything the world could possibly offer to her! But at the end of the 1800s, Anna is finding society to be lacking and the endless parties and shallow religion to be unfulfilling. Knowing she was adopted when she was little, Anna fears that she will never be able to move forward in marriage if she doesn’t understand her past and the nightmares that haunt her. The more she seeks for truth, the more sure she is that she wants to know more about the God she heard about in the small community church in Chicago. But her fiance has forbidden her to go there, insisting that she avoid becoming a fanatic. The closer Anna gets to the truth of her past, the more unsure she feels that she isn’t compromising her soul to gain the whole world. Along the way, Anna befriends Derk Vander Veen, a worker at her hotel, who is studying to be a minister and able to answer many of Anna’s questions as he seeks answers to his own.
“No one can pluck us out of God’s hand.”
Geesje is the complete opposite of Anna. As an elderly woman who helped to found the Dutch city of Holland, Michigan, Geesje has been asked by her community to share her story for the city’s 50 year celebration. With the urging of her close friend, Derk, Geesje writes down her memories, remembering 50 years earlier when her family was persecuted in their homeland because of their religion. After barely surviving the potato famine, her parents, her father’s apprentice, and Geesje join other Dutch families as they escape to a new opportunity for freedom in America. But along the way, Geesje’s faith in God is tested over and over again as she survives shipwrecks, sickness, death, loneliness, relationships, and fire. Through simple actions, Geesje demonstrates a Christian’s struggle to continue to trust God’s plan.
“When my parents were gone and God was all I had,” I said, “I discovered that He is enough. I survived malarial fever, so I knew He must have a purpose for me on this earth even though I couldn’t see it. I kept moving forward, one tiny step at a time, clinging to Him in faith. And isn’t that the definition of faith – moving forward through the darkness, clinging to God?” – Geesje de Jonge, Waves of Mercy
Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin is a beautiful story of love, faith, grace, and mercy. Whether you’re searching for a deeper meaning to life or a Christian struggling in your faith, Lynn Austin has written this book for you! The truths found within remind us of the love our heavenly Father has for us, even when we can’t see His plan, even when it feels He has abandoned us. Even when we are lost at sea, shipwrecked without our family, or alone in the wilderness seeking a new life. He is always there, and we can never be plucked from His hand!
I review a lot of Christian books, and I can usually pretty much guess how the story is going to play out. But this story left me wanting more, hoping that Lynn will bring us more stories of Anna and Geesje – two women who seem to have nothing in common but the friendship of one young man. But there is always more to a story, isn’t there? (You’ll have to buy the book to find out the rest!)
I will say that I learned a lot about the struggles of the Dutch immigrants and their unwavering faith. I had never heard of Holland, Michigan, before, but I enjoy learning about new people and places and feel as though I have traveled there now! Lynn does a fabulous job of researching her novels to bring to light important historical events and people.
I feel quite confident in recommending this book to others because I feel that the entire purpose of this book was to help me reflect on my own faith. Over and over again, I was reminded of scripture that point to Christ’s love for me and faithfulness to me. In my opinion, any book – fiction or non-fiction that consistently points the reader back to Christ is a book worth taking the time to read.
I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the launch team for this book, and I was given a copy by the author in exchange for my honest review.