Monday, June 27, 2011

Joab's Fire -- a distant hope

A new addition to our church library is Joab's Fire by Lynn Squire.  Set in Western canada, in an area now known as Alberta, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Joab’s Fire is a retelling of the story of Job from the Bible.
   I recently had the opportunity to interview the author.  Here's some of our conversation.

Alice: Of all the stories in the Bible, Job is one of the darkest and most difficult. What prompted you to choose Job as your subject in this book?
Lynn: When I was 19 I was very ill with allergies and chemical intolerances. One night after a bout of vomiting, I sat on the floor between the toilet and the tub and asked God why? Almost as clear as an audible voice I heard Him say, read Job.

I did as He said and was truly blessed. God is in control. He loves me, and the more I read Job, the more I appreciate this. Of late, I see Him reminding me that He'll do anything to ensure my close relationship with Him...even allow hardships into my life.

There are many wonderful verses in the Bible that testify to God's provision in trials. I look at Paul's life, and I see someone who chose to suffer like Jesus and rejoiced in that suffering because it drew him closer to his Saviour. Paul wanted that for his disciples. Here's what he wrote to the church in Colosse:
"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering;" Col 1:9-11

Paul didn't pray for them to not suffer. He didn't pray that they'd gain wealth or physical health or escape hardships. Instead, this man who knew great sufferings, prayed what he discovered was of far greater value than worldly possession, the knowledge of God.

Just like Job, who said when his ordeal was over, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee." Job 42:5

We know that Job was a Godly man who feared the Lord. He even had all the pat answers to trials, but when it was over, he realized what he thought he knew of God, he didn't. When he repented of his assumptions, God blessed the latter end of Job's life more than his beginnings. Is that an awesome and merciful God?

In my own life each trial has deepened my understanding and love of God. I would not want to substitute that knowledge for pain-free living. I'm glad He thunks me on the head now and again to remind me that I don't know everything there is to know about Him. And each time I discover a new depth of His love and abundant mercies.

Alice: How did you decide on the time and place for Joab's Fire? (BTW, I love your descriptions of the prairies.)
Lynn: Writing teachers often say to write what you know. I know the prairies, love history, and am particularly proud of my Albertan heritage. I loved reading my grandparents memoirs and my sister gave me a book consisting of diary excerpts from NWMP officers in their early years.

All these played a part in my decision to set Joab's Fire in the area where I grew up, drawing upon my own heritage. While Arrowwood didn't exist at the time that the story occurs, I put my fictitious town in the same area and made Joab Black's farm a place my dad once lived as a boy. As a child, I used to play in the old buildings and dreamed up all sorts of stories to suit the setting.

Alice: Anything else you'd like to add?
Lynn: The release date for Joab's Fire to September 15. However, you can purchased an early signed copy from me on my website at: After you have read the book, please leave a comment on the website. I love to hear from my readers.
Author, Lynn Squire

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