In Safe Haven of Jesus, Steven Turnwald, a former member of the United States Air Force, offers reflections on his traditional Catholic faith to help readers reinvigorate their spiritual practices. Intended as a retreat guide and inspirational companion to the Bible, the author explores such topics as redemption, the Holy Trinity, spiritual warfare, and the need for purification through the practice of virtuous living.
Like many other works of devotion, Turnwald shares intimate details about his own spiritual journey, in particular the struggles he faced with his mental health. As a newly enlisted young man of 18, he encountered fellow soldiers who lacked his value system and seemed to him like “devils.” The author turned to the Bible for guidance, but suffered a breakdown nonetheless, spending nearly six months “stationed in mental hospitals.” He credits “God’s love” for keeping him “alive around the uninformed, those with careless attitudes, and worldly souls.”
The author’s earnest and devout faith is apparent here. And as someone who has struggled mightily, Turnwald offers an example of how to stay spiritually strong and live a good life. Affirmations like “Seek God’s face and his mercy forevermore,” will interest Christians of all denominations—not just Catholics—who will find much to support their beliefs that Jesus is the source of “joy, serenity and peace.”
Unfortunately, Turnwald’s stream-of-consciousness writing style and grammatical errors make for difficult reading. Sentences are often confusing and distracting, such as: “A phenomenon of God is that he can make, form, and fashion he or she who prays to Him to have flowing rivers of living water whithin [sic] to their hearts and not thirst.” His chapter “Wisdom and Prayers” is most effective, offering simple observations and advice on how to spiritually grow in our daily lives.
Safe Haven requires editorial work to help make Turnwald’s ideas more accessible. Still, the story of his spiritual journey and overcoming odds is poignant and uplifting.
Also available in hardcover.