I have wonderful news!! My book is going to be published! It’s tentatively titled “God in Pain: Challenging God’s Role in My Son’s Death” and is scheduled for release by Herald Press in May 2016.
I’m honored to work with the dynamic group at Herald Press. And I am thankful to Greg Daniel, the most wonderful literary agent, who has done amazing work throughout this process. I’m also so grateful to Greg Boyd for writing a beautiful Foreword and for believing in this project from Day 1. Thanks also to everyone who’s offered feedback so far on the manuscript and to all of this blog’s readers and subscribers! Your thoughtful interactions have helped shape this book and make it a reality!
There’s a couple reasons why I’m just over the moon about this book being published. First, this project embodies beauty emerging from the ashes of loss. My little boy’s life is woven through these pages. His laughter, bravery, tender heart, and giant blue eyes light up the narrative as only Henry could. Through writing about his journey, I believe I’ve found a way to honor his memory and share him more fully with you.
I’m also thrilled because this book presents a picture of a loving God who doesn’t send radical suffering for mysterious, higher purposes. It poses the question that every Christian must face, If God is loving and all-powerful, why is there so much suffering? Through a raw look at my own faith journey and the surreal moments that compromised Henry’s final months, this book poses that question in an intensely personal way: Did God lack the power or the desire to spare my 4-year-old son?
I examine the fact that most Christians believe that everything unfolds according to God’s mysterious, divine blueprint. Yet while we’ve all heard this notion expressed in countless clichés, I note that no one whispered them to Henry as he struggled painfully and was eventually killed by a malignant brain tumor. No one ruffled the dirty-blonde hair on his scarred skull and said, “Everything happens for a reason” or “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” No one reminded him in his final weeks, “The Lord gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” And as his strong, healthy body fought against the disease-ravaged circuit-breaker that was his brain, no one told him, “Sometimes we just can’t see what God’s doing when our eyes are blurry with tears.”
Readers will be asked to consider why no one shared these words with my dying child. After all, these are the phrases we proclaim from pulpits, sing in worship, tout in grief literature, and affirm over coffee with friends. If we truly believe these blueprint-clichés represent the heart of God, why would we hesitate to share God’s heart with dying children?
I offer that perhaps it’s because we see the ugliness in this picture of God. We sense that mentioning God’s will and character would be inappropriate during these delicate times. So we remain quiet. We offer no explanations. But one question echoes through the silence: If we can’t share the heart of God in life’s darkest moments, when is the appropriate time?