I could not put this sweet story down! The Encounter is Stephen Arterburn’s parable about the power of forgiveness, as opposed to resentment, in a person’s life. After three divorces, pain killer addiction, and a failed suicide attempt, Jonathan Rush is desperate for help. His pastor sends him to Fairbanks, Alaska, the place where resentment and anger began to take over in him, to learn what he can about the mother who abandoned him. Jonathan is skeptical, but agrees to follow his pastor’s advice.
Along the way, he meets a local reporter, Erica Bingham, who chooses to help him, off the record, just because she’s curious. This story, which is a very quick read, tells of each stop they make on the way to discovery and the freeing lesson Jonathan learns as the story ends.
Following the story, Arterburn tells of two true stories that merged in his mind to create the parable. He talks about lessons he’s learned along the way and asks follow-up questions to help the reader consider more. I appreciated this section of the book, but the story, which spoke clearly for itself, was my favorite part. Anyone who struggles with anger, resentment, or the inability to forgive will benefit from reading this book. Those who just love a happy story should read it, too!
I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending a complimentary eCopy of this book for my review.