Messages is described as a “fictional allegory,” similar to a parable. A parable uses physical elements to teach a spiritual lesson. David Chance develops a sudden “talent.” Words stand out in posters, newspapers, even movie titles, and give him “messages.” Some might object to these extrabiblical revelations. The story has plenty of Scripture and biblical teaching and the “messages” don’t teach doctrine. They really just push the adventure and mystery along.
Just one example, the $400 incident, is a brilliant detail. Don’t forget the $400. The full “Why Him? Why now?” mystery isn’t explained until almost the end of the book. He is an ordinary man but providentially placed for the “Why Now?” of terrorists, hidden bombs and presidential assassination. Revealing these story elements isn’t giving away the real surprises in the story. There are many, and they really keep the reader adrenalin-buzzed and zig-zagging right along with poor David.
“Why him?” It’s a case of “be careful what you wish for.” Or what you beg for, and pray for. When the response to his plea to understand God comes David learns how far from ready he is. Fortunately godly counsel is only a phone call away, even in the most extreme circumstances. The fact that part of David’s extraordinary quest involves keeping his godly counselor alive is another brilliant detail.
This story examines a favorite theme of mine, how a person can believe he’s “good enough,” or other people are, until reality jars that nonsense out of his head. Who can you trust? Who are the good guys and the bad guys? In the end, David realizes that goodness, and trustworthiness, and faith, are not things for which man alone has the answers.