In celebration of the paperback release of Justice this month, I invited some of those who read Justice to share their thoughts here. Rather than book reports, these posts take some of the themes of Justice and explore them as they apply to life outside the book. I hope you’ll find these posts encouraging, whether you’ve read Justice or not.
by Stacey Weeks
What causes you to question God? Is it seeing a child in distress? Receiving a life-altering diagnosis? Can circumstances force you to question the Father?
In Emily Conrad’s debut novel, Justice, Brooklyn and Jake are thrust into a situation that causes them to question everything, including the sovereignty of the Father and the certainty of His love. Their story illustrates how quickly the winds of life can turn our future in a new direction.
It wasn’t that long ago my perfectly settled life was thrown off course. We were settled in a great community. We loved our home and friends, and life was comfortable. Within six short weeks, everything changed.
My husband resigned from a secure job, we uprooted our family, moved to a different country, and left behind everything that felt safe. But security rooted in anything but Christ is an illusion.
In one way or another, change will come, and it might feel like you are drowning in fear and grief. When the illness flares, the water feels overwhelming. When the virus is winning, the fire burns. Or, as Justice so wonderfully illustrates, circumstances might cause you to question God’s sovereignty. In those intense moments, we must resist the temptation to yank back the reigns of control and try to fix things ourselves.
Conrad doesn’t shy away from trials in Justice.
God never said there wouldn’t be trials for the believer. In fact, Scripture teaches the opposite. Life would hold many difficulties, but we are to take heart because Christ has overcome this world (John 16:33). The waters will be deep. The river will swell, and we will walk through trials, BUT, according to Isaiah 43, the children of the Lord will not be burned or consumed.
Your current trial might feel like more than you can handle, but your hope is not in your strength.
Your current trial will never be more than God can handle. That is a promise. His steadfast love will sustain you as you walk in obedience to Him.
Happily Ever After
I’ve never doubted God’s ability to answer my prayers, but I have sometimes feared His answer would be no. Following that fear was the terrifying question: Would I continue to love God if He said no?
What if God’s way is painful and frightening? What if the slave remains captive? What if the sick die? Is God still good? These are some of the questions simmering under the surface of Justice.
These types of questions rarely lead to satisfying answers as often as they point to deeper, more uncomfortable questions. Will I only believe if God explains His actions or gives me what I want? Do I trust that God remains when everything else collapses? Is God enough?
Although Justice is not a book about theology, I believe responsible Christian writers are careful to weave solid theology between the lines of dialogue and description. Conrad does so beautifully. She communicates precious spiritual truths without being preachy or dropping lengthy sermon-like paragraphs. Doctrine flows naturally from the developing story, making Justice a wonderful and faith-building read.
I closed the book satisfied and refreshed by the reminder that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His love does not stop when tragedy strikes. His mercies don’t end when the diagnosis is grim. They are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. (Lam 3:22-23)
Stacey Weeks is the multi-award-winning author of Glorious Surrender (2016), inspirational romances The Builder’s Reluctant Bride (2016), Mistletoe Melody (Dec 2018), and inspirational romantic suspense novels In Too Deep (2017), and Fatal Homecoming (Feb 2019). Stacey lives in Ontario where she speaks at women’s conferences and writes about the things of the Lord.