By Lisa Barnes, Lt. -
I hate singing.
I especially dislike hymns. Please don’t hate me for this confession—it’s just not my bag. To me they often feel distant and unrelatable, especially when the words aren’t in the normal order that we say them in. Dyslexic problems. So a devotional book based on hymns is something I wouldn’t normally run to read. That is until I read Rob Birks’ book, “Someone Cared” (Frontier Press, 2015).
I smiled like a crazy person while reading most of this book because of the humor and relevance of it all. Even on the chapters that I didn’t like, such as #PrayForSPU, I was caught in contemplation and thankfulness of the presence of God.
This book had me hooked from the beginning of the introduction where Birks talks about legendary duos in music and mentions Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. I knew at that line that even as a post-modern Millennial, that this book was for me too.
Rob uses personal asides to show his humanness and his sense of humor. If you read more than a chapter or two at a time these can get distracting, but if that is the worst part of this book, then bring on the short-lived distractions.
The transitions from topic to topic in each chapter are flawless, and when they aren’t they are at least funny. In the chapter “Burning Burning,” Birks jumps from bands who have sung about San Francisco, to the Giants winning several World Series, to the show “Full House,” to a 1906 earthquake, to the danger of fire, to a pillar of fire by night, to the fire of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it felt like I was playing a word association game with a person who is hopped up on Nyquil, but in the best way possible.
The chapter “Stuff of Mankind” made me cry my eyes out. I could see the glory of the Christmas story, my own hurt, as well as the hope of Jesus I’d like to show for others.
In the chapter “A Motley Crew,” Birks talks about how God uses people who are a hot mess to show his love and grace. He says, “If we read, teach, and sing only sanitized Scripture lessons, we run the risk of buying into the lies that our lives should be trouble-free, and that God only uses perfect people.”
This reminded me that God could use me—even me—to show his love to a bruised and hurting world for the cause of Christ. That is good news.
The last chapter reflects on the life of holiness and ends with the phrase, “Someone still cares.” The book ends here, but this is our springboard for what comes next.
I highly recommend this book. Regardless of age, where you are on your journey with Christ, or what your vocation may be, this is a timeless devotional that could lead us all on a closer walk with Jesus.
More than anything, I am thankful for the reminder that someone still cares.