If you ever read N.D. Wilson’s book, Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl (and I’d encourage the endeavor), you’ll probably have trouble describing it. It’s unlike any other book I’ve read. In places, this is frustrating. I suspect this is part of Wilson’s design.
It’s not my intention to describe the content of the book now but rather the effect. You see, lots of books and authors impress me, make me think, even inspire me. But Wilson accomplished something different, something higher—he made me worship. This is certainly part of his design.
This might be due to my own circumstances and temperament, even my experiences. But this book might just have the same effect on you. Two longer quotations from the book’s final chapter appear below. These especially pointed my heart and desires toward God. I know this is part of His design.
We go into the ground, where the moss will feed on us and others will be stacked on top. We go into church floors and graveyards behind grocery stores. We go into the sea and the snow. We are devoured—by each other, by the earth, by time, by cancers and confusion, by the spinning of this sphere as it runs its balanced laps.
We are in Winter, where the light dies and blood runs cold.
But we are not forgotten. Wet, ripped from the trees and trampled, we will not be lost, for we are His words, and when His voice calls, we will come.
Offstage, there is another greater stage.
Come, let us grow old like fishermen. Let us sweeten the air with songs while we fade. Let us die. Winter cannot hold us. Let us go into the ground, and our faces will find the sun. Let us ride the eruption of Easter. — pages 196–197
And this is how the book ends. You might need to read the whole book to feel the impact of the final line, but this is too good not to share.
We will hear the angels sing. We will be the sheep. We will be made new and find ourselves standing in a garden. We will be handed bodies and shovels and joy.
No tree will be prohibited.
Blister your hands. Tend to the ants. Push the shadows back. Sing. Make a garden of the world.
We will laugh and carve FINIS on the earth. We will carve it on the moon. We will look to the Voice, to the Singer, the Painter, the Poet, the One born in a barn, the One with holes in His hands and oceans in His eyes, and on that day, we will know—
The story has begun.
And we will rake the leaves. — page 197
I loved reading this book, not just because it made me think, and not just because it lead me to worship. It reminded me that great writing (ideas and craft in one package) honors God because it imitates God. Living in His art, image-bearers glorify the Giver by creating art in His image.
Disclosure: the links to Amazon.com in this blog post are affiliate links, meaning that I get a small percentage of any purchase you make on Amazon if you make that purchase after clicking through this link.