by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley
Part of the story line in this novel involves a 3 year-old who falls in a pool and is under water long enough to cause severe brain damage. Her parents, both doctors and both Christians, were already having difficulties and had drifted away from each other and from God. On top of that, Peter, the father, was supposed to have been in charge of his two daughters when the drowning took place. He blamed himself - as did his wife. Eventually, he moved out of the family home and tried to numb his pain by taking opiates (which he had access to as a doctor) in order to function in his medical practice. He becomes addicted and after some time, attempts to end it all by taking an overdose, but survives. His brother-in-law, Ryan, visits him in the rehab center and tries to talk to him.
After listening to Peter, Ryan tells him, “Pain like you’re feeling is part of living. The solution for it will never be found in a bottle of pills.”
Peter, who is really broken at this point, replies, “I don’t know how to do it, Ryan I’ve never hurt like this.”
Ryan then reads to Peter from the 23rd psalm, and says “You’re not supposed to know how. God says he’ll lead the way; he’ll walk beside you through the valley. It doesn’t say he’ll take us on a detour around the valley of the shadow of death. It says he’ll stay beside us while we walk through it.”
Ryan continued: “For you, the valley is this pain you’re feeling. You have to walk through it, to the next place along the road of life. You can’t mask it or run from it. Or even die to escape it, Peter. You have to walk through it, and the only way to do that is with God.”
This little excerpt really struck me - as have many parts of several of Kingsbury’s novels! I almost hesitate to publish this, because my retelling of it doesn’t do it justice. But I’ve loved her books, not just for the interesting stories about people who are really trying to live a Christian life, but for the many ‘illustrations’ of real life types of people who face real life types of problems, but try to solve them by exercising their faith and relying on Christian principles. The illustrations serve as examples and reminders to me, which I seem to sorely need since, though I understand and believe what Christ and the Prophets have taught, I often find it hard to apply. Sometimes I don’t even remember to try - and these novels work as both a reminder and an example to me.