Colliding With Destiny is a non-fiction book discussing the Biblical life story of Ruth, wife of Boaz and matriarch in the lineage of David. It is author Sarah Jakes’ second book published by Bethany House in 2014, following only months after the release of her debut work. Promoted as a personal study about the journey of transformation for a Biblical woman, Colliding With Destiny actually focuses just as much, perhaps even more, on personal anecdotes, examples, comparisons and ideas drawn from Ms. Jakes’ own life and difficult past. Although this may prove beneficial to readers with a similar story, those looking for thought-provoking insight into the book of Ruth will end up disappointed.
Essentially, Colliding With Destiny is divided into 30 chapters, each opening with a sequential excerpt from the book of Ruth, followed by a couple pages of thoughts from the author, a journaling section with questions, and a closing prayer. The writing style is mediocre – not amazingly good or incredibly bad. It does not sparkle, and occasionally sounds redundant or awkward, but intermittent passages may elicit a smile or be considered quote-worthy.
Through early chapters the input from Ms. Jakes stays mostly relevant to the specific Bible passage, but this changes as the book progresses. In various instances, I was confused at how her discussion tied in with the selected portion of Ruth’s story. For example, in one case a discussion on investing in finances and relationships followed an excerpt from Ruth 3:15-16, when Boaz gives Ruth six measures of grain to take home with her. Following Ruth 4:9-10, when Boaz announces his betrothal to Ruth, a large portion of the discussion revolves around Ms. Jakes’ enjoyment of the movie ‘Pretty Woman’ while she was growing up, and her analysis of pertinent scenes. This movie is rated R.
Possibly the biggest issue with this book is the assumption it makes regarding material not strictly contained in the book of Ruth. Often Ms. Jakes seems to ‘read between the lines’ of the Bible, and then add her views and personal anecdotes to this extra information. Strangely, she lists no references for the historical and contextual details mentioned. Although Ms. Jakes’ ideas and conjectures would be well suited for a fictional tale, in a non-fiction work they feel presumptuous.
Colliding With Destiny is a misleading book. Readers expect to find insight into the story of Ruth, and her example of trusting God with our destiny. Instead Ms. Jakes uses this over-arching theme to share more of her own, personal story. If you have a past filled with tragic choices and heart-breaking consequences, and you are in need of restoration, you may benefit from the messages Sarah Jakes has to offer. However, if you simply want to study the amazing story of how God used Ruth’s obedience to His plan to prepare for the future coming of His Son, you are in for a disappointment.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group”