Review of “The Fourth Fisherman: How Three Mexican Fishermen Who Came Back from the Dead Changed My Life and Saved My Marriage”


Published: 2012
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars.

An Unfinished Story

Three men who were stranded on a fishing boat in Mexico resurface across the ocean nine months later. Meanwhile, Joe Kissack, a young man in the United States who spent his younger years earning a fortune comes face to face with his spiritual bankruptcy and begins to collect the pieces of his life. This book tells the story of how these four men eventually meet and how the events leading up to their meeting became a catalyst for transformation in Joe’s relationships. While the book invites the reader to trace the journey of each man with an expectant curiosity, it seems that the best of the story remains yet unwritten.

While three men return home to finish a life they nearly lost, another man sets out to find them. Determined to be the one to tell their story, Joe found his story etched on their faces- he saw in them a shared brokenness. It was after he stepped out of the culture that insulated his self centeredness that he finally saw another man’s need for God as vividly as his own.

As a man, Joe Kissack’s greatest strength is also most likely his greatest weakness: he does not quit. We read the account of a man who today rightfully boasts about his love for his family, and about his enduring desire to begin the journey home to childhood and claim the love of his father. Driven by an insatiable desire for success at a young age, Joe reaped the rewards that are available by hard work. Unfortunately, his ambition also narrowed his vision to the point that he lost sight of everyone, including himself.

Now, Joe is learning to take the focused lens off “self” and I hope he continues to do follow that path. I want this story to be finished one day- but that will happen not when the movie of this story is made, as Joe hopes it will; the story will be complete when God has finished His work in these men’s hearts.

I am not sure how much the finished account will look like this book. Perhaps it will be very similar; however, once the chaff of “self” is removed, will the story that remains be a survivors’ tale of three fishermen who are home despite all odds? Will the story be about the redemption of a man who was at the edge of self indulgence, and has begun to wrestle with God and trace his steps back out of his selfishness? Or are there threads running through these accounts which, when pulled, simply show the glory of a sovereign God who redeems all things through Jesus Christ?

This man is certainly wrestling with God. And when God is ultimately victorious, I eager await whichever story surfaces- on that day Joe will be telling the story as a man who has wrestled with God and with men, and has prevailed.

I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for review

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