Cross Roads. If the author's name is not familiar to you, it might be that you will recognize the title of his first novel, a modest 18 million seller entitled The Shack. When I read The Shack back in 2008, it resonated strongly with me on a number of different levels. It was a superbly written novel and so filled me with emotions that I had to stop reading at any number of different places because my eyes were overflowing with tears. That novel gave me a way to embrace, to approach, and to grasp the triune Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Shack is one of the two or three books that I would request if I were to be exiled to a small island for the rest of my days. However, this post is not about The Shack, but about Cross Roads. Would it surprise you if I told you that my reaction to this book touched me nearly every bit as deeply? Another absolutely beautiful and touching piece of work that I give my highest recommendation to.
The story involves Anthony Spencer, a man who has lived his life keeping score. The one with the most money and prestige is the one who will be declared the winner. Tony has relished destroying anyone who opposes him, or even displeases him. He has kept a list of names of people who have irked him and one by one has taken joy in squashing them under his heel. He has made the choice to keep everyone in his world at more than arm's length for fear that people only want what he has worked so hard to take or to claim. In one moment he is certain that his life is marked by victory. In the next moment, in a drunken state, he has an accident and is clinging to life in an ICU. It is in that moment that Tony meets Jesus and the Holy Spirit, written as simple, yet beautiful, allegorical representations. From a different perspective outside of himself, and with prompting, teaching, and guidance from Jesus and the Holy Spirit, Tony comes to understand who he has become and why he is the way he is, yet he finds no condemnation, only love. Jesus tells Tony that he will go on a journey where he can choose to physically heal one and only one person that he meets. When that choice is made his journey will end.
We then travel with Tony as he slides back and forth from a spirit in this world to his place in the world between this one and the life after. Tony, as you might imagine, undergoes a stunning transformation from a point of strength and confidence. Young's writing left me in tears as his wonderful and pure expressions of love and sacrifice spilled across the pages and left me wanting to embrace life and living more strongly.