At first glance, this book is about Chelsea Chambers, a soon-to-be single mother of two who has just inherited her mother's cafe and the $86,000 IRS bill. At second glance, this book is about Manny, a clumsy, fashion-challenged man and Chelsea's newest employee to help her with the cafe. But the more you read, the more clear it is that this book is about God. While Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe is a novel, there is so much truth here it cannot be ignored.
Manny is an angel on assignment and his assignment is Chelsea. The Bible tells us that we should not be lax about giving hospitality, because we could be entertaining angels without knowing about it (Hebrews 13:2). Manny is directed by God through the Arch-Angel Gabriel and he is protected by the Arch-Angel Michael. Max Lucado has used Manny's perspective to show us how truly well we are protected by God. Looking through Manny's eyes, we can see the battles that are waged about us that we have no knowledge of.
In the Higher Grounds Cafe, Manny finds a room that whispers to him--years and years of whispers--the prayers of the two women who used that room, prayers for Chelsea, prayers for customers, prayers for Chelsea's children--Manny is hearing what God has heard. (Personal aside, now) My mother was crippled by arthritis in her later years, and it was hard for her to move around. She couldn't do much but read and pray, so she kept a prayer list by everywhere she sat. There was one by her bed, one by her chair in the living, and one by the chair where she cooked. Every time she sat, she prayed, and after she passed away, we found out how much her prayers had covered us. Many things happened because no one had picked up her legacy of prayer. Now that I have begun to pray (by no means as well or as deeply as my mother did), I am beginning to see how very important it is. To be able to hear her whispers for me, as Manny heard the whispers of Chelsea's mother and grandmother, would be a blessing beyond anything I could ask or imagine. (Now back to the regularly scheduled review)
One of the significant elements of the book is the "God Blog" where customers could come and ask questions and God would answer them. Not only would God answer the questions, but He would reach deep into their souls and meet a need the questioner had no idea was there. There is one episode of the God Blog that will remind readers of the Samaritan woman Jesus met at the well. Another episode will remind of the four friends who broke a hole in the roof to have Jesus heal their friend. While this book may not be based on fact, it is based on truth, especially the truth that God loves us so much, He wants to meet our every need.
Chelsea has to sort through all kinds of emotions--from her father's desertion of the family to her husband's infidelity to her son's need for his dad in his life to her cafe burning down--all these things roil through her and if she were to ask a question, it would be, "Do I have to walk this life alone?" Manny shows her through his eyes, she has never been alone in the first place. In seeing things through Manny's eyes, she can see enough of the background to be able to forgive her father and her husband, and allow them a place in her life.
I have chosen to use primarily Manny's perspective for this review, because stepping outside the earthly bounds of our lives to see the depth of God's love for us is one of the most important aspects of the book, in my opinion. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a cup of coffee with your guardian angel.
Thomas Nelson provided this book for me to read and review. All I have done is provide my own honest opinions and I have not been compensated for them.