First, I want to thank you all for indulging my new found love of biographies and autobiographies. We've had some good ones, haven't we? I have one more amazing story to introduce to you...and then, it will be up to you to search out these treasures that inspire, educate, and make our lives richer for the reading...
Have you ever felt like life was a smooth, glass sea, yours for the taking, then a squall came along and blew you off your course? Or worked at every work God gave you to work, obeyed to the absolute best of your ability, trusted at every turn...
...only to feel as if life sucker punched you, and God stood there and let it happen?
Well, meet Carol and Gene Kent. A mere two weeks after she and her husband counted their many blessings and rejoiced at how good life was, their one and only son was arrested for first degree murder.
What made this so life shattering and unusual was who Jason Paul Kent was before this one split second in time. The only child of Carol and Gene Kent, he was an honor student, a role model for his younger cousins and an inspiration to his entire family.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Jason had a highly promising military career ahead of him. He had met and married the woman of his dreams, and became a father overnight to his two step-daughters.
But there was a fly in the ointment, and it was his wife's ex-husband. He was in the process of seeking unsupervised visitation with the girls, and with accusations of molestation and abuse surrounding the case, Jason couldn't stand the thought of his two precious babies with such a supposed monster.
So, at 12:35 in the morning, Carol and Gene received news that would forever change their lives, their faith, and their relationship with their son.
What follows that event in this powerful book is some of the most honest, gut-wrenching teaching on faith, trust, and Biblical encouragement I've ever read. Carol, a gifted public speaker with a powerful speaking and writing ministry, lays it all on the altar in this book.
She tells of moments of such deep depression and the black darkness of despair, and how God met her there. She writes of her white hot anger at God for allowing this, and yet we hear her echo of the words of the Apostle Peter: "Lord, where else can I go?"
This is a faith born out of adversity and pain like most of us will never know. But the gorgeousness of this story is that, whether your trials are of the catastrophic type or the kind that rattle you to your foundation, whether a lost job or a cancer diagnosis...if it's an empty nest or a prison cell...this book is for you.
Oh, you may never get a phone call like the Kents received that night...but your trials are yours, and they loom large in your life, just as this ordeal with Jason did for his parents. Carol doesn't belittle those who moan over lighter afflictions...
Oh, no. She embraces you under her faith wings developed in the strongest head winds of fear and doubt and teaches you how to fly...teaches us how to soar despite the adversity.
This isn't Pollyanna easy-believism. This is gritty, battle weary, fire tested belief. The kind that can sustain us through anything. And her stretcher-bearers...how I LONG for people such as these in our lives today!
As I said in a previous review, it's time for today's church to drop their rocks and to embrace the wounded, bleeding and hurting--even if they did it to themselves. What would have been the outcome had believers not enveloped this ENTIRE family, Jason included, in the healing and redeeming love of the Lamb?
I long for this kind of faith. But I do not long for this kind of trial. Trouble is, I don't think you can receive it without the trials and sufferings that accompany it. James knew what he was talking about when he penned these words:
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
5-8If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
Carol is honest, believable, and through her suffering and adversity of unimaginable proportions, has written a book of healing, encouragement, and education that will touch believers through the ages. This is NOT the final chapter in the lives of the Kent family...what satan meant for evil, God is using for good...in unexpected ways that will blow your mind.
To have such words born of such pain...well, Carol and Gene are just remarkable people. The coolest thing? So are we, if we just surrender to God as they did. It ain't easy, but who ever promised it would be?
If you've ever wondered what to say to the suffering, read this book.
If you've ever longed to rage at God, read this book.
If you've ever waited for the ram in the thicket, (and it didn't come), read this book.
Then share its message with someone. God will tell you who, if you just listen. I'm awarding this book the golden bookmark, something I've never done, but hope to do again one day.