Paul Stutzman is a great plainspoken writer with a gift for detail and self-deprecation that keeps readers hooked for mile after mile.
I’ve always had a fascination with the Appalachian trail, and as my illness keeps me from ever fulfilling it, I enjoy reading about others’ experiences on it. Stutzman’s writing is part travelogue, part journal, part devotional. He does a great job of allowing readers to see through his eyes the beauty he witnessed in God’s creation: the storms, the butterflies, the majestic mountaintops. He doesn’t just stop to smell the flowers; he tastes them! Stutzman shares many stories about small miracles on the trail, strange coincidences that have God’s fingerprints all over them, and he encourages readers to seek out God on their own journey and see what He has to tell them. One of the most powerful messages Stutzman has for readers is that of trusting God in the midst of grief. Here’s my own coincidence: I signed up for this blog tour months ago, never knowing that I would need to read a book on grief. But last week Saturday, my dog Cooper was hit and killed by a car. I would never consider weighing the loss of a dog with that of a spouse, but my grief and pain is very real, and I’ve been struggling all week with the question of “Why, God? Why?” Toward the end of the book, Stutzman stops writing about the trail and for a few paragraphs addresses this very question in such a way that I couldn’t help but sob, and then began to feel some peace.

God gave Stutzman a mission on that trail, and he fulfills it well with this book.  I hope he decides to take another journey someday and take the rest of us along with his again.

 

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