Cread | books, reading, believing

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Book review: Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic

Unstoppable, Nick Vuicic, non-fiction, books, book review, new bookI'm not sure Nick Vujicic's Unstoppable ever becomes an unstoppable read but it does steadily and assuredly build in intensity and impact so that when you do put it down on completion, it is with a sense of satisfaction and appreciation.

His neat and tidy prose, indeed every single word, is weighed down with added meaning because Nick was born without limbs, other than what he calls his "little foot". It makes even the existence of this his second book seem remarkable, not to mention the spirit of hope and optimism that fill it.

The sub-title for the 214 page paperback (Allen and Unwin) is The incredible power of faith in action and he sticks to his theme from cover to cover, utilising a mixture of personal testimony, inspiration, advice and the stories of people who have reached out to him or worked with him.

While reading Unstoppable for this review, Nick appeared on 60 Minutes with his new wife, Kanae, and the story of how they met and eventually wed is contained in the book. What isn't there, but was revealed on 60 Minutes, is that Kanae is now pregnant and another one of Nick's dreams is about to be fulfilled.

As an international evangelist and inspirational speaker, Nick has met many amazing people including some who have challenging disabilities or disadvantage of their own. Some have been drawn to him to see for themselves someone who has, in his own words, not been kept from "enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships".

He addresses many of the issue that people bring to him including relationships concerns, career and job challenges, health and disability issues, self-destructive thoughts, addictions, self-harm, bullying, a balanced life and service to others.

His early chapters on personal crisis and relationships are dominated by his own experiences - a crisis of confidence brought on by a financial problem and the slightly comical story of mix-ups and romance as he finds the love of his life.

But it is as he addresses issues of disability, bullying, self-harm, injustice in the second half of the book that he not only relays many amazing stories of his own speaking and ministry experiences across the globe, but introduces us to people who have faced as many or more challenges as Nick and prevailed - through the power of love and faith.

He drops in stories of preaching in Egypt and Liberia, casually but powerfully, alongside accounts of Americans who have suffered through terrible sickness or accident only to find purpose and happiness.

One woman, Terri, speaks of her "torturous journey of self-harm" which she had finally overcome with the help of counselling and encountering Nick and his faith in God through his videos. She writes in an email:

"If I have learned anything from Nick's story, it is that no matter how hard life is, no matter how tempted I may be, I should be grateful for the fact that I have arms, I should be grateful that I have legs. I should be grateful for being able to type this with fingers. I should be grateful that I am able to feed, dress, and take care of myself with such ease."
And that really is the power of Nick's book and his speaking ministry. Despite advising us not to compare our journey with his, it is impossible not to feel your own challenges pale into insignificance compared to what he faces just to get through each day.

Towards the end of the book he recounts a visit to 92-year-old Billy Graham at his mountain home in North Carolina. Nick has long admired Billy Graham as a evangelistic role model and was not disappointed by the visit.

Among the advice he received from "America's Pastor" was the instruction to not tell followers of other religions they were wrong but "always go in love and respect".

"Your job is to preach the truth of the gospel and only the truth of the gospel without targeting certain people and groups. The truth is powerful and it will set hearts free."

There is every reason to expect that Unstoppable will be a best-seller as was Nick's previous book, Life Without Limbs and more than that, it is likely to truly impact people of all kinds as they work out how to put faith into action in their own lives.

And Nick's view on how to have a "ridiculously good life" like him - surrender to God. Which is why one of his sayings is to put "Go" in front of the word "disabled" - Godisabled, God is abled...

For Nick, as long he remembers this, nothing is impossible and his disability ceases to be the focus and what he can do with God's strength takes front and centre. 

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