What is your idea of intimacy and fidelity?
Before reading Close Enough to Hear God Breathe, my thoughts about intimacy and fidelity revolved around an indefinable amount of trust. Greg Paul doesn’t discount the importance of trust, however he shows its process by painting a portrait of physical closeness – a proximity – that ties two individuals together emotionally and spiritually. Such ties forge a trust that deepens intimacy and ensures fidelity. This closeness sounds like a soft puff of air, an almost inaudible exhale or a quiet relaxed heartbeat deep in the chest cavity your head is resting on.
The story of his agelong fidelity to the people of Israel tells me that the Father has not abandoned me, his child, either. He never will. My sin is the proving ground of his grace.
The Fall, and my own willful disobedience, has broken the image of my Father in me, like a mirror shattered into a thousand shards. Yet each jagged piece still in some small way reflects an aspect of his being, and he will not dispose of it. The Fall is not the utter ruin of my relationship with him, but the proof of its ultimate inviolability. He is not sweeping those shards into a dust pan to be thrown into the trash, cursing the inconvenience. He is gathering them, every sparkling sliver. Assembling them into a new mosaic of his identity uniquely reflected in mine. ~ from Close Enough to Hear God Breathe
Greg Paul is a great storyteller, he weaves his story into God’s eternal Great Story so intricately that the reader can’t help but to insert thoughts of their own story while reading. In reading Close Enough to Hear God Breathe, I gained a new level of appreciation for imagination, interpersonal communication and the art of writing a good story.
The title suggests a deep level of intimacy with God. As a Bible-believing and practicing Christian, I thought I had a firm grasp on the level of intimacy God expects to have with His creation – with me – but Greg Paul shared his growth, experiences and insights in such a way that the reader becomes aware that whatever their current level of intimacy with their Maker, they can always go deeper – much deeper. Paul parallels his relationship with God with his relationship with people. His stages of intimacy in his physical life – as a son, brother, friend, husband, father, worker, etc – had a direct impact on his spiritual intimacy with Father God.
Throughout Close Enough to Hear God Breathe, Paul re-imagines snippets of the Bible-story. He re-imagines so well in fact that it comes across as a first-hand account from an eye-witness. It’s an intuitively inclusive way to experience scripture. From the beginning of the book to the last word, Paul’s insightful words beckons the reader, drawing them into a tender, warm, loving, and fatherly embrace where he shares an intimate portrait of his home life, his ministry and his relationship with his Maker. He outlines and exposes the correlation between his relationships (family, friends and community members) and God’s relationship with humanity. He does an excellent job of keeping his “little” story, as he calls his life, in perspective with the great divine story that is God and man striving together.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would highly recommend it to anyone seeking deeper relationship with their Creator.
Your hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. ~ Isaiah 1:15-20
Greg Paul Close Enough to Hear God Breathe: The Great Story of Divine Intimacy Paperback, 224 pages, $15.99US Thomas Nelson, 2011 1400203007 978-1400203000
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