“To have no hope is the entry point for a certain kind of death- a death called despair” (4). 

I think there are very few people who would say that life is not hard. Most of us would say that at some point or another we have been in a place of despair. We have been in a place where we look around at the circumstances around us and believe there is no hope.

In fact, that is the story of all humanity throughout all of history. As soon as Adam and Eve ate from the tree that God had told them not to eat from, our world was plunged into the darkness of despair. Sin took over and as far as anyone could see there was no hope. There was no way we could save ourselves from the darkness of sin and death. 

But then, on a night in a small town called Bethlehem, hope invaded the world. A light was seen in the midst of darkness. Redemption had come in the person of Jesus Christ. 

A Loving Invasion

And that is what Redemption’s Echo by Travis Vangsnes is about. “It’s about God’s loving invasion into our lives in small and gigantic ways, culminating in the sending of Jesus, on a rescue operation- for us” (4). In Redemption’s Echo, Travis uses stories from his own life to point to the hope we have in Christ. As he tells stories and shares reflections with us, he shows us that even in the most horrible, heart-wrenching circumstances we still have hope. That hope is only found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. At every turn, Vangsnes reminds us of God’s unwavering love for His children, even in their sin and even in suffering. On every page, he preaches the gospel to his readers. 

The Hope We Have in Jesus

It’s hard to see sometimes how God can be at work in things that hurt us so much. But Vangsnes uses his own experiences to point us back to the truths found in the Bible. He points us back to Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection. 

One of the most vivid and radical stories in this book is that of his younger brother Jeremy. Several years ago, Jeremy was in a car wreck that left him completely paralyzed. “He shouldn’t have survived his injuries and he definitely shouldn’t have been able to function beyond a vegetative state” (6) But Jeremy is in fact alive. Jeremy is confined to a chair or a bed. He can’t feed himself or do anything for himself. The only way he can communicate with his family is by shaking his left foot to spell out words, or by using a machine. Yet, as Vangsnes points out several times, Jeremy is filled with joy and hope. If anyone should have reason to despair, it’s Jeremy. In the eyes of the world, he has lost everything. From a worldly perspective, Jeremy doesn’t have much to live for. He is trapped inside his body. 

Yet, Jeremy still smiles and laughs. When asked how he is able to still have joy, he gives one answer, “Jesus” (11). This may sound like the normal Sunday school answer, but as Vangsnes clearly shows throughout the book, Jesus is truly the only answer Jeremy needs. Jesus is the only answer any of us need, and that is made clear throughout Redemption’s Echo

The Gospel, Simply and Deeply

I think the best part of this book is how the gospel is simply, but deeply preached throughout. Every story, every reflection points us back to the person and work of Jesus Christ. In Redemption’s Echo, Vangsnes challenges and encourages Christians to understand the weight and beauty of what Jesus has done, as well as what God has called us to. He writes in a way that is easy for any reader to follow, yet at the same time he walks us into the deep end of the gospel.

Vangsnes is a master of the metaphor, both in writing but also in being able to see the gospel in every aspect of his life. Jeremy’s life is not the only example of this. God has allowed Vansgnes to see hope and light, even in dealing with his own anxiety. It is clear as you read each chapter that Travis lives the gospel. He isn’t just writing about Jesus as if He is a theory or an idea. He doesn’t write about suffering and confusion or anything else without letting the reader know that these are things he has experienced himself. Redemption’s Echo is deep, and it is personal. This is the kind of book that is perfect for anyone who wants to be challenged and who wants to take the time to reflect on their own understanding of the gospel. Because Vangsnes is also very honest about his own struggles and anxieties, readers will also find comfort and hope. The whole point of this book is to point other people to Jesus so that they will find their ultimate hope in Him. This I believe is the goal of Redemption’s Echo, and it is a goal that I think it has absolutely achieved. 

Redemption’s Echo Official Book Description

Through personal stories and reflections, Redemption’s Echo reminds us that God is always masterfully at work using and repurposing our lives, our mess ups, and even the “ordinary” events in the everyday to create jaw dropping moments of redemption and hope all around us. Even in our suffering. 

In God’s script, the “weakest” can teach us what great strength looks like, little kids can teach us what big faith looks like, and the suffering we face can help heal us as we’re joined by Jesus. God’s plans are limited by nothing and every circumstance we face is a potential land mine to blow our minds with his love, nearness, and power!

This book also reminds us how the gospel frees us from the futility of religious self effort and fuels our motivation to love and serve those around us with deeper grace and renewed compassion. With profound thoughts from the author’s brain-injured brother (who cannot speak!) and stories of God showing up dramatically in unexpected places, Redemption’s Echo will change how you view your own life in light of God’s greater purposes.

Author Website: http://www.invadedespair.com