“God doesn’t need your strength to guide you, but you do need to trust his strength to recognize his guidance” is one of the principals Sam instructs in Ed Underwood’s book, "The Trail: A Tale about Discovering God’s Will." At one hundred and eighty-five pages, this paperback targets Christians looking for God’s will in their lives. With one minor slang word and no violence, the topic of emotional infidelity within a marriage may not be appropriate for immature readers. The New Living Translation of the Bible is used and fourteen group discussions are included. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence. Instead of sermon format, Pastor Underwood offers readers a tome of grace, forgiveness, and redemption. Young Matt and Brenda are supposedly happy Christians who have a life-changing decision to make. When it is suggested they go on a camping trip with an unusual old fireman / preacher, their sole purpose is to uncover God’s will in their lives. When the couple arrive at California’s Sequoia National Park, the beauty surrounds them yet their inner peace is challenged when Sam, surly and sometimes preachy, questions their true feelings toward God and one another. Always wanting to control the situation with a logical answer, Matt shuts down Sam’s demands as Brenda seeks a spiritual sign. Reminding the two to focus on Christ, Sam discusses trust, relationship, intimacy, timing, protection, encouragement, community, and grace while the three hike through the Golden Trout Wilderness and the Casa Vieja Meadow. As emotional and physical harm encroaches, the trio must hunker down and protect themselves and each other by also spiritually understanding God’s direction in their lives. Facing their trials, failures, and disappointments, the trail to knowing God unfolds. Blending ample amounts of Bible verses and Biblical characters, the quick read may be misconstrued as a simple, eight-step instant fix of how a couple learned the will of God, using His beautiful creation as a backdrop. However, if the concepts were carefully dissected over an eight-week study, concentrating on being “all-in” with a personal relationship with Christ, one will be confident claiming the verse in Proverbs: “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths.” KJV. Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for furnishing this book in exchange of a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.
The Trail by Ed Underwood was an interesting read, but had a lot of extra drama cluttering up the pages & it was too cliche in the ending. The principles presented in the book were solid, but were a little too complex at times.
“The Trail” is a very good book with great insights on how to know God’s will for anyone seeking a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. When I first picked up Ed Underwood’s new book I thought to myself, oh yea, yet another book on “finding God’s will for my life”; there are so many. I’ve read so many. When I started reading I found that The Trail is different. It is a novel and not just old or even new information from an academic approach. I not only received new insights with a fresh perspective about the will of God for me, but saw how it works out in a life example for people in need. The story based on a young couple seeking God’s will from an old retired pastor and past firefighter mountain man on a trek into the High Sierras is truly engaging. Everyone on this journey learns something. A big plus is that it is also entertaining to the point that the reader wants to keep going to see what happens with the characters as they learn and bond. I recommend “The Trail” to all who want to know more of God’s will for themselves and for those who want to read an extremely interesting story.