Book Review | Pilgrimage by Lynn Austin

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Bethany House | October 2013

It is difficult to categorise this book by Lynn Austin who is usually better known for her Christian fiction than autobiographies or teaching. The cover describes an account of her “ journey to a deeper faith in the land where Jesus walked”, but there is very little about this book that could be described as a ‘memoir’ as the tagline suggests. Instead, Austin writes with honesty and vulnerability about her heart condition, sharing what God spoke to her during her time in Israel. The result is something that is part autobiography, part travel documentary, part devotional and, ultimately, a book that will speak to the hearts of many who have found themselves in parrallel situations or living with similar emotions.

In each chapter, Austin paints beautiful word pictures of the Israeli scenery and what it was like to be there, which she then connects with Biblical accounts of the events that happened in each place. She draws out lessons from the relevant scriptures and shares how they spoke to her in that season.....and in turn, how they can speak to the reader. Each chapter can stand on its own, with verses and prayers to use as tools in implementing the lessons learned.

Pilgrimage is very clearly written by a woman, for women. It is perhaps more suited to those who have lived a little more of life than a teenager or young adult. Whilst anyone can enjoy it, it will definitely serve as encouragement and a soothing ‘balm’ to those who have been enduring the desert place. Austin is honest about her struggles, but as she shares what God spoke to her about each problem, she also imparts the hope he gave her to each one of us as she shares her journey.

As someone who has never been to Israel but would love to, this book, with all its scenery and history, definitely increased my desire to visit. Whilst the major message is an emphasis on Austin’s personal journey and the hope for our own, there is also a focus on what God has done in that very land and what he continues to do.

The book is written in such a way that it can be enjoyed on multiple levels. Maybe you choose to use it as a morning devotional; read a chapter, meditate on the verses, and add your own prayer each day. Maybe you go a little deeper with those things and it serves as a tool for some breakthrough in your own dry season. Maybe it’s the historical aspect and the exploration of the land that you’ll enjoy. Perhaps you are also a fan of Lynn Austin’s writing, and enjoy the insight into her spiritual journey. However it is read, this is an easy to read, encouragement-filled book that will be enjoyed by women in a wide variety of walks of life at any stage of their Christian journey.

Used by permission. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.