IN THE EYE OF THE STORM, by Max Lucado ($20)

TNP: 0-8499-8090-6

"CHIPPIE THE PARAKEET NEVER saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over. The problems began when Chippie's owner decided to clean Chippie's cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She'd barely said 'hello' when 'sssopp!' Chippie got sucked in.

"The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie-- still alive, but stunned. Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.

"Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.

"A few days after the trauma, the reporter who'd initially written about the event contacted Chippie's owner to see how the bird was recovering. 'Well,' she replied, 'Chippie doesn't sing much anymorc he just sits and stares.'

"It's hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . that's enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.

"Can you relate to Chippie? Most of us can. One minute you're seated in familiar territory with a song on your lips, then . . . The pink slip comes. The rejection letter arrives. The doctor calls. The divorce papers are delivered. The check bounces. A policeman knocks on your door.

"Sssopp! You're sucked into a black cavern of doubts, doused with the cold water of reality, and stung with the hot air of empty promises.

"The life that had been so calm is now so stormy. You're hailstormed by demands. Assailed by doubts. Pummeled by questions. And somewhere in the trauma, you lose your joy. Somewhere in the storm, you lose your song.

"Ever found yourself in a storm of life? If so, if Chippie's story is your story, then I'm glad you picked up this book. I wrote it with you in mind. I wrote it because there is a day in the life of Christ that you need to know about.

"Aside from the Crucifixion, it is the most stressful day of his life. A roaring sequence of bad news, demanding crowds, and doubting friends. Twenty-four hours in which Jesus faces the same gale-force fears that you and I face. Waves of pressure slam. Winds of anxiety blow. Clouds of darkness billow.

"Yet through it all Jesus remains calm. He endures the day without losing his song. I'd like to help you see how he did it.

"First we'll consider the stress of demands. Jesus handled twelve hours of chaos. What did he do to keep his cool? What did he know that gave him strength? If your days are bookended with deadlines and "chuck-it-all" frustrations--then you'll like this section.

"The second section is entitled Storms of Doubt. Have you ever found yourself in a storm and wondered why Jesus doesn't pull you out? The disciples did. While Jesus went up the mountain, they went out on the sea. The storm came, their boat bounced, and they were left with a long night of fear and a long list of questions. 'Jesus knows we're in a storm. Why doesn't he come?' Sound familiar?

"The final section of the book deals with a third source of anxiety--the sting of failure. In the twilight hours of that night, we discover a sweet story of grace, Peter's attempt to walk on water. What began as a step of faith ended up as a belly flop of fear. If you've ever wondered what God does when we fail, then read this section and allow the hand that saved Peter to touch you.

"Storms come. They come quickly. They pounce ferociously. If you are in one, then you know what I mean. If you're not in one today, you know as well as I--one may be in tomorrow's forecast.

"My prayer is that this book will leave you better prepared. My prayer is that you will find some word, some story, some verse, or some thought that will convince you that he is very near. I pray that as you read you will be reminded that the same voice that stilled the rage on the Sea of Galilee can still the storm in your world. Read on, friend, and be assured--he is closer than you've ever dreamed." - From the Introduction.'

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