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Constance Scharff
The Path to God's Promise
One of the last things Elinor Simentov wants is to be a prophet of God, but God has other plans. A Jewish woman of no particular renown, Elinor is asked by God to give a warning to all who will listen. Will she serve as a prophet, sacrificing her goals for herself, self-image, and reputation in order to do something that may be completely useless? God’s message is simple. Humankind must radically change course or face extinction. To give warning, God uses prophecy to urge humans to change. Transported through past, present, and horrific potential futures, Elinor is asked to share her visionary experiences and conversations with God to urge us to take action. As we are barraged month after month by once-in-a-lifetime storms, record-setting heat waves, shifting polar vortexes, horrendous floods, and decades long droughts, it’s hard to continue to ignore the signs and omens. The Path to God’s Promise combines dire warnings about climate change with the transformative power of prophetic experience. It asks whether or not it is too late for us to save ourselves and challenges us to live vastly different lives.
“Humankind is reaping what it has sown” warns God to Elinor, a reluctant prophet in this spiritual fiction by Scharff (Meeting God at Midnight). Elinor has spent most of her life sifting through the visions she experiences, and her earliest memory is God speaking directly to her at age four. But when God asks her to be his prophet and “get a message out to as many people as you possibly can,” Elinor’s wary. She’s convinced there’s only pain in store for prophets of God, and when she hears the task he’s sending her way, her unease grows: she must write a book warning humankind to change their ways before they all perish.

Elinor’s relationship with God forms as much of a basis throughout the story as her visions, and she speaks reverently of the time they spend together. God appears to her as a “kind of heat shimmer that is roughly the size of a man,” and, though she acknowledges he appears in a way that she can recognize and understand, she also explores his intangible nature—“What I see is not who or what God is. It is a small piece of divinity that is knowable.” As God takes Elinor back through her life, and sometimes painful memories, she eventually agrees to share his message that "Humans on Earth are killing themselves and most life on the planet.”

Scharff probes grander themes than Elinor’s visions, including the idea of free will, the cost to follow a predestined path, and the consequences that come with ignoring glaring problems like climate change and human violence. Elinor’s path is emotional and draws alarming similarities to the current trajectory of the world, highlighting the ways that humans affect the Earth through greed, technological advances, and the quest for power—but God’s love is carefully portrayed as gentle and wise throughout. This compassionate wake-up-call strikes a chord.

Takeaway: An entreaty to take care of Earth—and each other.

Comparable Titles: WM. Paul Young's The Shack, Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: NA
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A