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Author taps Old Testament to see hope amid crises women encounter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Unless you live in a college dorm or on a farm, you probably don’t fear the destructive onslaught of creepy, crawly insect plagues like those experienced in the Old Testament.

But author Jan Coleman says people should fear what the Old Testament plague of locusts symbolized — loss and destruction — because it is everywhere in today’s society.

“More than ever we’re seeing broken lives, and the Christian church is really having the same problems — even more so — than the world,” said Coleman, who wrote the new Broadman & Holman book, “After the Locusts: Restoring Ruined Dreams, Reclaiming Wasted Years.” Broadman & Holman is the trade book publishing division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

In her book, which is based on the Book of Joel, Coleman looks for the good in the crises life hands them. Highlighting the destruction caused by locusts, Coleman mixes the Old Testament narrative with contemporary stories from women who have dealt with pain and loss.

“The message of the book is that we will all face loss. We will all make mistakes that we think are irreversible, but that God will use that not only for our good, but for the good of those who come after us,” said Coleman, who lives in northern California.

“Throughout history, not only in the Book of Joel, but in the women’s lives that I highlight in the book, the message is that God — in unexpected and surprising ways — has restored the years and paid back for the losses.”

In the book, Coleman includes some of her own experiences as a child, then wife and mother woven into the stories of other women.

“Each of the stories really examines a different situation and a different response to loss and what they feel are wasted years” — stories that “can really touch a broad number of people,” Coleman said.

She said the women she writes about are “women who came into my life as God took me through my own process. So they were inspirations to me, and I pass down their stories to be encouragement to others.”

Loss and grief are an integral part of life that shouldn’t be ignored or simply pushed aside, Coleman said, so she urges people to be honest about their pain and sorrow.

“In faith, know that God is going to use this in a mighty and powerful way, and even though you still feel the pain, feel it in an honest way,” Coleman said.

After the Locusts isn’t a self-help book or a magic antidote to help people deal with their pain, she said. It is a book about learning to understand the overwhelming power of God’s love and restoration.

“Just walk with God and let him walk beside you as you go through this, because he wants to partner with you,” Coleman said. “We’re not alone, but he’s not going to be up there with any magic dust either. It’s a partnership. …

“We need to get back to the biblical response to life, and we need to look at teachings of Joel and Jesus. We need to have a faith that the Lord is going to make something rich and beautiful. He makes beauty out of ashes.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: JAN COLEMAN.

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