Divine Collision by Jim Gash {book review}


“Was I just a do-gooder tourist, or was I willing to personally invest in the sixteen-year-old Ugandan prisoner into whose eyes I was looking?” Jim Gash asks himself.  The unlikely friendship of Jim and Henry and their unrelenting persistence reforms Uganda’s criminal justice system, leaving a lasting impact on hundreds of thousands of lives. Divine Collision attest that relationships can supersede circumstance, culture, and the walls we often hide behind.

Diving Collision by Jim Gash {book review}

Divine CollisionSummary:

Jim Gash’s comfortable life as a Los Angeles lawyer and law professor nearly ensured he and Henry, a Ugandan boy languishing in prison for two murders he didn’t commit, would never meet.  Henry was losing hope, and prayed for a sign from God.

Halfway around the world, Jim listened to best-selling author of Love Does, Bob Goff,  encourage lawyers to use their legal training to help imprisoned children in Africa.  Jim felt an irresistible urge to respond to this call.  Little did Henry know, his prayer had been answered.

Divine Collision tells the first hand, true story of how Jim and Henry, separated not only by an ocean and thousands of miles, but also differing cultures and life experiences, inspired justice reform for an entire country.

Reactions:

Wow! What an amazing telling of God’s sovereign work in the lives of His children! One thing stands out — the faithful answered prayers of Henry and his mother. Not to minimize the faith of many Americans involved in the story, but in perspective, Henry’s and his mother’s prayers were pure faith, because there was no Plan B, nothing on which to fall back. Truly the character and integrity of Henry is the heart of this story, without which the story would fail to stand.

While I have never gone on a missions trip, I have heard and read about many, which are of great interest to me. This is not a missions trip, but Americans venturing into the Ugandan culture to assist their criminal justice system — leaving the comforts of their own culture to assist Ugandans in theirs. In other words, making themselves available as God’s feet, hands, and mouthpiece with no agenda of their own. Now that’s faith.

It is incredible to me that these children, of whom Henry is the leader, faithfully stayed in the remand ‘home’ (prison) for such a long time (some up to two years) with minimal provisions and minimal adult supervision. What an incredible situation! And one that God used for His glory.

My favorite scene in the book, and the one which was ‘shown’ rather than ‘told’, is the loading and unloading of the cows!  You will just have to read it, my friend (no spoilers).

Jim Gash, the author, did an incredible job of blending the events of this lengthy legal process and the thoughts and feelings of several people beside himself and Henry, into a readable story. I love the way Henry’s thoughts are interwoven on the pages, as well as those of Jim’s wife and daughter Jessica.  They add such perspective to the story.

The email sent to Henry by Jim Gash’s friend Jessie was the most moving part of the book.  Thanks for including it.  It says in part (page 171):

… God does not promise that justice will always be done, although we are already free in the Lord and He is a God who loves justice …

Please tell him [Henry] my story and let him know God does have a plan for a hope and  a future for him.  God asks that we run with perseverance this race, and for you and Henry:  keep running this race and under no circumstances give up.

There was a point in the reading where I felt bogged down by the details of the legal process, but overall I think that reinforced for the reader the purpose for which Jim Gash and his team went to Uganda.

Prayer, persistance, loyalty, integrity, faith in Almighty God, the truth, and always depending on God and giving Him the glory — that’s what Divine Collision is about.  Oh, yes with global justice thrown in for good measure.

Thank you, Jim Gash and family, and Henry, for sharing your faith in Almighty God in this unique way.  I give Divine Collision 5 stars.

Jim GashJim Gash lives in Malibu, California and is a Professor of Law and Director of Pepperdine’s Global Justice Program. He serves as Specialist Advisor to the Ugandan High Court and assists the Ugandan government in a variety of capacities on projects relating to improving Uganda’s judicial process. In March of 2013, Professor Gash became the first American ever to argue a case in the Ugandan Court of Appeals. In recognition of his ongoing work in Uganda, he received the 2013 Warren Christopher Award, which is presented to California’s International Lawyer of the Year.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review and participating in the First Look blog tour.  Opinions are my own.

My rating:  five stars

Divine Collision website with video and where to order

My review is on Christianbook.com

Author Jim Gash’s website Throwing Starfish  

My review is on Goodreads

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