Often called “the next Billy Graham,” Luis Palau is among the best-known American evangelists in the world today. His sermons on spirituality and the Christian life, as well as his calls for international and racial harmony, have been heard by hundreds of millions of people at public gatherings and on radio and television in more than ninety-five countries. It’s a God Thing brings together stories Palau has gathered on his travels. These stories, often beginning with the words “You won’t believe what happened to me,” unfold to reveal an unusual and frequently miraculous series of events that transformed the life of the storyteller.
Recent polls indicate that the vast majority of Americans–around 90 percent–say they believe in God. Yet even the most consistent churchgoers sometimes wonder why miracles–the recovery of a terminally ill child, the unexpected, much-needed check in the mail–happen to other people. Through its simple, true-life stories, It’s a God Thing illustrates the small, often mysterious ways in which God orchestrates events to create something positive amid the confusion and pain of daily life and shows that, even when his intentions are not immediately clear, God gives each individual what he or she needs most.
Popular evangelical preacher and author Palau appealingly covers well-worn territory in this compilation of inspirational stories. In his introduction, Palau distinguishes between his titular "pictures" and "portraits" by explaining that some of the vignettes are more like pictures, or snapshots, of God's concern with "short-term details," while others are portraits that demonstrate God's work in someone's life over a long period of time. Despite this distinction, each chapter is no more than four pages long, regardless of its scope. The brevity of these stories, as well as their feel-good subject matter (i.e., the much-needed check that appears in the mail, the mysterious stranger who disappears after doing a good deed, the urge to pray for someone at what turns out to be a moment of peril, etc.), makes this book palatable reading for those with the shortest of attention spans. Moreover, despite the author's unabashed evangelicalism he often focuses on born-again experiences and distinguishes between the saved and the hellbound his warm, folksy tone will probably appeal to nonevangelical readers. Sophisticated readers of all theological persuasions might suspect that Palau has taken liberties with these stories, perhaps even blurring the line between the truth and urban legend. Nevertheless, there is no reason to doubt his earnest desire to relay to a wide audience the amazing stories people have told him through the years. He does this very well, and even the most cynical reader will likely be moved.