Monday, June 3, 2013

Book Review: Clear Winter Nights: A journey into truth, doubt, and what comes after by Trevin Wax

No work of fiction has ever touched me this deeply.  I often had to stop to think, meditate, pray, and search my own heart.  Then this:  "In those quiet moments, when the stillness of the house set in and the winter evening sent a chill through everything, Gil cried out to God, asking for strength and wisdom.  From his heart poured his own regrets, his failures as a father, his decisions that had caused unintended pain."  At this point, I had to put the book down.  

No, my circumstances are totally different from those of Gil Walker, his son, and his grandson, but at this point in the book I felt my heart connect with his.  Later Gil would confess what he perceived to be his failures as a father.  "Well, I still regret some things I did and some things I didn't do.  Early on, I had my priorities all mixed up.  I would often let ministry become my idol and neglect my family much more than I should.  I cheated them in that regard.  Failed to see them as my primary ministry."  You see, I am a father and a pastor...I too have been on my knees before the Lord regretting decisions, actions, words...things done and things left undone.  Now, I am a grandfather too, and I can't help wondering if my grandson will one day seek out my counsel as Chris did Gill's.  

Yes, this review is very personal because that is the impact the book had on me as I read it...and I am sure it will have a similar impact on everyone else who reads it, whether a father, a grandfather, a son, or a grandson.  At the same time, this very true to life book serves as an apologetic to those who share Chris' hurts, anger, doubts, and fears.  I really don't know where Wax gained such insight into the struggles of the heart.  It is as if he has been given the gift, not only to see inside the deepest recesses of people's lives, but also to find redemption for the broken mess inside.  Alongside the raw pain of the two main characters, with glimpses into the pain of Chris' uncle, his mum, and his dad, Wax paints a portrait of hope for the sinner..all sinners...and for failures...all failures...

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

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