“God’s about to reveal to you a purpose so necessary, so critical, so essential that he had to hide it behind pain, grief, and misunderstanding in order to protect it until this very moment” – I Am Number 8 – John Gray.
I had the pleasure of taking some time out last week to attend the 2017 Hillsong Conference at Sydney ‘Qudos’ Area with a group of friends from my home church, Box Hill Salvation Army. Having heard some inspiring preaching and experiencing some beautiful Spirit honouring worship sessions, the week was an amazing time of uplifting and inspirational drawing closer to God in Spirit and truth. With deep learning and biblical expedition the preachers bought it all week long. Amongst some of my long-time favourite preachers at this event was one that I really didn’t know much about but felt moved to read more about after it was all said and done. John W. Gray III bought the house down with his preaching so naturally I found the book he wrote ‘I am Number 8’, and it’s a good one.
I Am Number 8 is a look at God’s calling upon our lives through the story of David the humble, forgotten shepherd boy later to become powerful, man after God’s own heart, David King of all the Israelite Tribes. Gray use this story to outline how a specific group of people, who he calls the ‘Number 8’s’, are positioned to lead their lives in humble servitude of the Lord God until the day he calls them into their anointing. King David was the 8th, and youngest son, of his father Jesse, under-valued, forgotten, unseen and written off, Gray uses the story of the shepherd King to tell his own story from ‘bucktoothed fatherless failure’ to dynamic instrument of God.
Gray’s story is insightful and captivating as the reader begins to understand the journey of these two life’s, John Gray and King David. From academic scholarship to flunking College, from choir church boy to touring with Kirk Franklin and the Family, from misfit to comedian and playwright, from a calling to preach at 13 years old to now captivating many thousands at the largest church in the USA.
I am thankful for the blessings in my life, I have had to overcome very little opposition in my walk, sure the lows have hit super hard but the story of ‘Number 8’ does not seem apt in describing my journey. This book however speaks to me, from feelings of being unnoticed and humble in a flashy ‘take all the praise’ type world to moments of making those life defining decision, Gray’s book continues to speak to all.
The moments that impact me most had little to do with me being a ‘Number 8’ but instead spoke to being called to integrity and stewarding the blessing that has been deposited within, worshiping in the private mundane while remaining patient for God’s timing to reveal the result.
I enjoyed I Am Number 8 and would recommend it to anyone looking for some affirmation that God see you at all times, even when others don’t, the good, the bad and the lonely.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about the evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7