Waves of Mercy

Have you ever prayed about a decision but when you followed through on where God was leading, everything went wrong? You probably asked, “Did I really hear from God? How could He allow this to happen?”waves-of-mercy-cover-1

immigrantsMy newest novel, “Waves of Mercy,” (which releases on October 4) tells the true story of the Dutch immigrants who settled the town of Holland, Michigan in 1846. These faithful Christian men and women, who suffered religious persecution in the Netherlands, prayed about what to do and felt God leading them to America, where religious freedom was guaranteed. So they left beautiful, centuries-old cities to move to the virgin wilderness of Michigan and live in crude log cabins. The first summer, malaria struck the community killing many settlers. A year later, a ship called the Phoenix, carrying 225 passengers, including 175 Dutch immigrants, caught fire and sank in Lake Michigan, five miles from their destination. 180 men, women and children died. As the bewildered immigrants buried their loved ones, they must have asked, “Did we really hear from God? How could He allow these tragedies to happen?”

gods-and-kingsI battled similar questions when writing my first novel, “Gods and Kings.” I had an opportunity to go to Israel on an archeological dig to research my book, and it seemed like an answer from God. To earn money for my trip, I babysat for three small children. My husband encouraged me to go and volunteered to take over while I was away. But a few days before I was supposed to leave, our three children came down with the chicken pox. Then we discovered that my husband had never had them, and he became extremely ill. I called the tour organizers to try to cancel or at least postpone my trip only to learn that it wasn’t refundable, nor could I re-book my flight. I would lose all of the money I had worked so hard to save. In spite of his illness, my husband still encouraged me to go—while someone from church called to say, “I think it’s clear that God wants you to stay home and be a wife and mother, not a writer.” Had I really heard from God about being a writer? Why had my family become sick at the worst possible time? I wrestled with God for answers.

It’s in these times of wrestling that we often find ourselves drawing closer to God. I think of Jacob who returned to the Promised Land with his family at God’s command. Yet before he reached home, he learned that his brother, who had once threatened to kill him, was coming with a large army of men. Jacob wrestled with God all night long, and was changed from Jacob the “deceiver,” to Israel, which means “he struggles with God.”

As I wrestled with God about my trip to Israel, the reading for my morning devotions happened to be Psalm 48: “Walk about Jerusalem, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation.” I trusted God to take care of my family, and walked into my calling as a writer. The novel I researched, “Gods and Kings,” has since been translated into nine languages.fullsizerender

And what happened to the Dutch settlers in my novel “Waves of Mercy?” I won’t reveal any “spoilers” in case you’d like to read the book, but if you visit the town of Holland, Michigan today, you’ll find that the immigrants’ faith remains strong and vibrant. The town, with a population of 33,000, has more than 71 churches, including Pillar Church, built by the first settlers in 1856.pillar-church

1co15-58“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

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19 comments

  1. This is beautiful, Lynn. I needed this reminder this morning. My dad passed away last night, so I’m scrambling around today to make the trip to Michigan tomorrow to be with family. All kinds of appointments and engagements to be cancelled, people to notify, laundry, packing and prepping hubby to handle things here at home all has to be done. But I know this was the Lord’s timing to take Dad home and He will help me get done what I need to do.
    Thank you Lynn for answering God’s call.

  2. Lynn: I’m so very much looking forward to your new book. I cannot begin to tell you how VERY timely this blog post was for me today. I’m sitting here in awe and wish I had the time and your page had the space for me to explain all the details, but I will suffice it to say that this post ministered to me so very much. What an awesome God we have! He always knows exactly what we need and when. Blessings to you and all your readers today and always. ~Rita

    1. Your words really touched me, Rita. I always pray when writing my blogs that God will give me the words He wants me to say. I’m amazed to hear that He has! Thanks for letting me know.

  3. Lynn, I’m so very glad you kept on writing…so very very glad….in fact I think I’ll send up a thank you to God this very minute, for gifting you and for your husband who supports you in your ministry to all of us. Bless you & thank you.

  4. Lynn, your writing is such a gift. Thank you for your words and stories that help us draw closer to God and each other. God’s timing is perfect even if we can’t see it in the moment.

  5. Lynn, your words were a gift from God this morning as I prepare for my day. My mother went home to be with Jesus in August and it has been a tough time. I have the responsibility of settling her affairs, and it has been a monumental job. I am actively pursuing the path that God has laid before me but the “snags” that keep happening are discouraging. Thank you for sharing a message of encouragement.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear about your mother, Octavia. Grief is such a cruel emotion that attacks when we are vulnerable. May God give you strength as you move forward. Blessings to you and your family.

  7. Dear Lynn Austin, I just want to thank you for each and every hour I have been able to spend in reading your written words. I love it that you give God all the glory for things that happen in your life and those you write about. I have ordered copies of your books for my daughter and my granddaughter and am anxiously waiting for them. They live in Borculo so near to Holland. We have always spent our vacations in the Lake Michigan area and feel Gods presence as you look over beautiful Lake Michigan.

    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Joyce. And thank you for sharing my books with your family. Maybe I’ll bump into your family from Borculo some time. I feel so blessed that God has brought us to this area. I agree with you that His presence seems very near when I look at the beauty all around me. Blessings to you and your family!

  8. Lynn, as usual, loved your book Waves of Mercy. The ending kinda left me hanging. Is Anna going to marry William or Derek? Is there a second book? Hope so!!!!!

  9. I just finished Waves of Mercy today. I cried with these women and rejoiced in God’s providence. Your books mean so much to me. I am a young pastors wife and myself can see God’s hand in my own marriage and “what could have been.” Thank you for the encouragement and reproof. Any hope of a sequel? I really want to find out what happens to Anna!

  10. Just finished the book, and am also hoping for a sequel. Want to know more about Anna, her choices & how her life turns out.

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