Surgery of the Unseen Heart by Todd Rutherford

Miriam Clifford’s Gatekeeper: Writing the Wrongs Right is a book for spiritual assessment in the modern world, addressing our modern problems through language, metaphors, and topics relevant to today, rather than re-packaging static texts and tales. Gatekeeper is particularly prevalent to the many who find themselves suffering through the recession and questioning their faith in God and their strength to carry on through socioeconomic turbulence.

While many people may be asking themselves if their faith is strong enough to carry them through these times, Clifford illuminates that our lives are the “boot camp of personal training ground for the mental, physical, and spiritual.” Many of us find ourselves on the “battlefield,” but she posits our struggles in a positive light, reminding us that this is the battlefield to “awakening the voice within, from the Spirit of God.”

Her direct approach does not sugarcoat the instability that we are going through, but rather reminds us, “It does not feel good, but it is beneficial for the new growth to take place.” She portrays God as a “Divine Heart Surgeon” and “Eternal Gardener” who is “eliminating with skillful hands” those things in our lives which may be “holding you down, holding you back, or holding you captive.” Although “the cutbacks are painful” God can “shine on what is left, do what He could have never done if you still had what you lost.”

Although this is applicable to many situations in our lives, it rings particularly true since the sub prime mortgage crisis and subsequent economic hardship that we have struggled through as a nation. Many of us have been forced to reduce our lives to the bare minimum and, unclouded by “mind spam” and material trappings, we are finally able to accept God into our lives. While the removal of these things may have initially been painful, the divine rewards and strength that we have garnered from the experience is far more valuable that what has been lost. Clifford reminds us that, “You may not enjoy the process, but you are going to love the results!” The struggles that we face as a nation and a world are not cause for despair; rather, they are part of the reduction of “spam” that has precluded us from a firm path to God.

Gatekeeper has firmly positioned itself in front of the issues and concerns of today, helping to guide us through that which we currently face and to find God, rather than disappointment, in the modern world, helping us to see the cutbacks in our lives as opportunity rather than frustration. Clifford’s modern treatment of the journey to a relationship with God does not paint a simple path if only we take it, as many other spiritual writings do, rather, an arduous path that holds great rewards for those who manage to stay the course and overcome the trials and tribulations that today’s world throw in our way as stumbling blocks.

Indeed, Gatekeeper helps us to see that the struggles we are going through are actually opportunities to strengthen our faith, unhindered by the things that were holding us back from receiving God’s word and having a strong relationship with Him.

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