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I’m reading one of John Piper‘s books at present: ‘A Sweet and Bitter Providence’, which is an exegesis on the book of Ruth in the Bible. This isn’t a book review, so I’m not going to talk very much about the book, although it’s certainly a excellent one which will bless you.
The book of Ruth is partially about God’s sovereignty in trouble. As Pastor John writes: ‘the life of the godly is not a straight line to glory, but they do get there – God sees to it. And God is at work in the darkest of your times to get you there.’
For some of us, ‘the darkest of times’ may be the fact that we are unable to have children. Maybe there is a medical reason why you and your husband can’t conceive…. Maybe you’re not yet married and are all too aware of that tick, tick, tick of your body clock…. Maybe you’ve lost a little one and are afraid to try again or have been medically advised against it….
May I gently say that God is still sovereign? He is the one who knitted you together in your mother’s womb while lovingly planning out your days. God is never taken by surprise. He knows your circumstances and He alone perfectly understands. When things have been at their absolute worst in my life, the fact that God has allowed the thing to happen and is still in control have been my greatest comfort. The time when my boyfriend of nearly two years decided to end our relationship, when my dad died, when Adrian and I were told by doctors that we would never have children, when I conceived twins by IVF only to lose them, when I unexpectedly became ill resulting in the loss of my job, my independence, and (at times) my dignity.
Nothing we give to God is ever wasted. Why don’t you give your barrenness, your hopes and dreams, to Him? The Bible promises that we will experience fullness of joy as we walk with God. There are no other conditions. Trusting God equals fullness of joy.
Jesus is the only One who makes us whole, who completes us. And He is the great healer who promises to mend brokenhearts and give new hope for shattered dreams.
If you’re struggling in this area, I would love to pray for you. Get in touch and, together, let’s see what wonderful things God will do for you and with you.
What a book! It is full of Jesus. One of Kevin and Alex Malarkey’s big concerns in writing this true story was that people might admire Alex instead of the One we should truly be impressed with. Alex is certainly a special boy, but throughout the book both he and his dad point constantly to Jesus – to His glory and power and compassion.
I loved the layout of The boy who came back from heaven. Every chapter is headed with a Bible verse or quote relevant to that section. There are frequent inserted quotes from family members, medical staff and pastors which serve as powerful enhancements of the main narrative. This book is totally biblical and thoroughly glorifying to God. Alex’s story causes the reader to want to know God more and more, and to live completely for Him with no holding back. Kevin and Alex are open and honest about what happened and about themselves as people. There is no self-aggrandisement, just a constant reminder that Jesus is the important One. Most of the chapters are written by Kevin, but some are written from Alex’s point of view, and I must say that this style works very well.
I think one of the strengths of writing about six-year-old Alex’s death and visit to Heaven is that the family are conservative Christians with no previous experience of the charismata. Following the fatal car accident which changed all of their lives so dramatically, and Alex’s most of all, they had to come to terms with angelic visitations, real spiritual warfare, miracles and Alex’s quietly persistent claim that he had been to Heaven and back.
When Kevin and Alex were involved in a terrible car accident on 14th November 2004, the impact threw Kevin fifty feet out of the car – yet he mysteriously escaped serious injury. Although Alex suffered internal decapitation (his head was completely parted from his spine), he was later able to tell his parents details about the accident scene that there is absolutely no way he could have known other than supernaturally. A Christian paramedic prayed over Alex and he was airlifted to a children’s hospital. He was not expected to survive the first 72 hours, but faithful Christian friends began a non-stop prayer vigil. Not only did he survive, but the night before doctors planned a spinal fusion, God intervened – reconnecting Alex’s spine with his skull. X-rays prove it. Through persistent prayer, Alex began his miraculous recovery.
I believe that Alex has been to Heaven and back. I believe that he can see the angels who care for him. All of his claims are backed up by the Bible. He has a spiritual maturity well beyond his tender years. Many adult Christians never attain the spiritual maturity that this young boy has. Only a powerful encounter with God would achieve it. Also, Alex’s deep love and devotion to Jesus comes across loud and clear on every page. He is looking forward to going back to Heaven one day to stay. He has been there, he has tasted a tiny bit of its delights, and he knows something of being with the Lord in that wonderfully perfect Home where no sin is allowed to spoil it. Heaven and eternity are realities for him. For how many of us is this true, if we’re being completely honest?
On a personal level, I read Alex and Kevin’s story with swollen, sore eyes and a growing heap of tissues. Although Alex has been through so many experiences I can’t even begin to imagine, I found I could identify in some ways from the severe illness I went through last year. And I can’t help but love and adore the God who saved us both from the darkness – twice.
Although I reviewed The boy who came back from heaven for Tyndale House through NetGalley, I will most definitely be buying this book for myself.