Book Review: “The Stranger in the Lifeboat” by Mitch Albom

Before you dive head first into this brief book review, let me tell you a few things: I do not write a ton of book reviews, I do not read solely works by Christian authors, I have not read any of Mitch Albom’s other books as a source of comparison. Those three things being said, I found that I liked this book. I liked the speed, pace, how easy it was to read, and how it made me think. It had several pleasant surprises in the end, which I enjoyed as well. Now let’s get down to a bit more of the “meat” of the book.

From the book cover matter: What would happen if we called on God for help and God actually appeared? In Mitch Albom’s profound new novel of hope and faith, a group of shipwrecked passengers pull a strange man from the sea. He claims to be “the Lord.” And he says he can only save them if they all believe in him.

This book was written in 2021, so it’s still relatively new. Right from the beginning, it makes you think about what you would do if you were one of the people in the boat. How would you act? What would you say? How would you treat the other survivors who were there with you? The survivors are from an explosion on a mega yacht called The Galaxy, owned by a businessman named Jason Lambert. Jason surrounds himself with high-profile people: techies, a US president, an Olympian, creatives, and the elite of the elite, to brainstorm during a weekend of a lifetime. He’s so famous that the world is set to watch this event occur when tragedy strikes and the ship ends at the bottom of the sea.

But not every person dies. Some end up on a lifeboat, a raft meant to harbor safety for a short time. All along, Lambert promises rescue from the planes that are ‘coming soon.’ But the only rescue that comes is a man who claims to be “the Lord.” He claims to have shown up because people called Him. That makes you stop and think. What happens if when you called on the Lord, He physically showed up? Sure, we pray to God and to our Lord and Savior, and He shows up in strange and miraculous ways. But in my life, I have yet to see Him in flesh and blood physically. But here’s the secondary question: what would you ask for? He’s already offered salvation to all who believe, so what would you ask for? If you were in the lifeboat, what would you need?

Jesus’ blood was already shed for our salvation, so for those who believe, we are already saved.

Individually, we know what our prayer needs are today. Maybe it’s for shelter, hope, food, courage, finances, peace, trust, wisdom, health, strength, or other needs. Jesus’ blood was already shed for our salvation, so for those who believe, we are already saved. If the Lord showed up today, what would you ask of Him? Essentially, the same question was asked of those on the lifeboat.

Here’s one of the things that stood out to me amidst the conversation on the boat. “”Worry is something you create.” “Why would we create worry?” “To fill a void.” “A void of what?” “Faith.”” This quote was compelling and poignant to me because it’s true. So many scriptures talk over and over about worry, yet it’s what so many of us do: we worry. I’m not saying that Mitch is right here, but I’m saying that he makes a very good point. Many times, we worry and stew over something because we lack faith in our Lord that He will see us through, provide for us, and see to all of our needs.

This book makes you think about your own relationships and what you would do if you were in the same situation. It makes you ask more profound questions about your faith, asking you to grapple with whether it is strong enough. However, in the end, it’s a captivating story of restoration, forgiveness, and hope.

After reading this book (I read it in about four hours), I’d like to read some of his others and see how they compare.

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