Book Review: Come Away My Beloved (Jun-Jul 2004)

By Matt Dabbs

by Greg Taylor
June – July, 2004

Come Away My Beloved
Frances J. Roberts

256 pages, $7.97 ISBN: 1-59310-022-1

This devotional classic is unique in voice, for Frances J. Roberts—a woman born in 1918 who wrote mostly at night the words she felt God was giving her—writes as if God is directly addressing the reader.

Come Away My Beloved is a compilation of five previous short devotional books published in the 60s and 70s. Roberts has also written eighty-eight hymns and was a professional accompanist and teacher in a Spanish mission school. Ten of her hymns are set to be released on a CD this year.

The title devotional is urgently calling the reader to “come away” and walk the path with God.

My beloved, you do not need to make your path, for I go before you…I cannot use a tired body, and you need to take time to renew your energies…I will teach you, as I taught Moses on the back side of the desert, and as I taught Paul in Arabia…There is no virtue in activity in and of itself—nor in inactivity. I minister to you in solitude that you may minister Me to others as a spontaneous overflow of our communion…Learn to say “no” to human demands and to say “yes” to the call of the Spirit…Come away, My beloved; be like the doe on the mountains and we will go down together to the gardens.

The devotions, though we cannot consider them inspired as the canonical words of God, do ring authentically with the themes of Scripture: God’s call to his beloved, faithful obedience to the calling, solitude and prayer, joy, sanctification. Transformation, says the voice, comes “not under pressure and tension like a machine—striving to produce, produce. I only want you to live with Me as a person.”

The problem I see with the devotionals is that Roberts at times mixes her own response to God in Psalm-like verse, and it’s difficult to perceive a consistent voice throughout the book. When voice is mixed, it confuses the reader. This should be more carefully set out by the editors of the book by giving clues, which are only subtle in this volume.

“I feel there’s a tremendous amount of spiritual food there and help for living the Christian life,” says Roberts, who is eighty and still living in California. “What I really wanted most was for people to just fall in love with Jesus…a closer relationship with Jesus and that would take care of everything else.”New Wineskins

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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