Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Book Review: SHATTERED PRAYERS: A Testing of a Father's Faith by Kenneth Ching

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG)

Praise For Shattered Prayers
A touching memoir describing the
endless challenges surrounding parents
of a special needs child. 

"Shattered Prayers is an artful examination of faith in the face of suffering. In recounting his family's story, Ching allows the reader access to a father's inner dialogue with a candor that is at turns frightening, vulnerable, and beautiful--often at the same time. And while the book's primary preoccupations are questions of faith, the story is told with a sense of drama that keeps the reader rapt."
--Gabriel Urza, author of All That Followed

"Shattered Prayers is a very real and honest look at the struggles of parenting a child with special needs. Kenneth Ching writes with transparency, expressing his frustrations with God and despite losing hope at times, never losing faith. He reminds us that although God doesn't always work the way we expect him to, he still loves us and our children even more than we can imagine."
--Claire Yorita Lee, author (with Shari Rigby) of Beautifully Flawed

Product Description

Kenneth Ching lived a comfortable life--with a great job, a big house, and an easy faith. He went to church and believed in God's goodness. But when his son is born with a serious and rare genetic condition, his life is thrown into terrifying chaos.

In this honest and raw memoir, Ching brings to life his experience of letting go while learning to truly trust the Savior he claims to know. Ching doesn't shy away from asking the hard questions: Why does God answer some prayers but not others? How does prayer work? Is God even listening?

Shattered Prayers is ultimately a story about recognizing God's presence and faithfulness in the midst of brokenness. And how one man thought God ruined his life by giving his son a terrible disease, but eventually realized God was actually fighting to save his faith and his son's life. 

My Personal Review

Shattered Prayers: A Testing Of A Father's Faith by Kenneth Ching is a beautifully transparent look at life through the lens of a father with a special needs child.

Kenneth Ching bravely shares his questions and uncertainty about the plan of God as he faces the reality of caring for a child with enormous special needs that at times are even life threatening. This book brings a close-up look at the details and dilemmas that are often hidden to the outside world when a family member has a severe physical and developmental challenge.  The intense emotion felt throughout Shattered Prayers, as the reader is swept away by the author's narration, provide a tangible feel to what it might be like to live for a day in the life of this devoted mother and father. It is so well written, in fact, that often times during the reading of the book, it seems as though the reader is  literally hearing every thought that Ching thinks. 

As the author navigates a straight path into his heart, questions are uncovered that we may have thought before, but have never been brave enough to breathe out loud. This transparency releases a freedom that allows the reader to ponder the fairness of situations like suffering and tragedy. As you fall in love with the author's son, Joshua, you begin to unearth suppressed questions of your own as it relates to the hardships of life. In fact, Ching states that "We can ask hard questions (God is very big and is in no way afraid of or unable to handle hard questions), and we can even get a few answers or glimpses of things that help us understand, but God simply does not promise to answer our questions. He's not Google, He's God." The author's portrayal of a gracious and merciful God who allows us to come to Him for the answers flows throughout this work.

My take away from this book is three fold. First of all, I now appreciate to a much greater degree the incredible challenges that a family with a special needs child face on a daily basis. Secondly, I have a deeper comprehension of how to assist a family in this situation; that it is more effective to physically help in tangible ways and talk less...it really is okay and in fact sometimes better to not say anything in an attempt to "fix it". Finally, I am encouraged by Ching's conclusion that our faith is not determined by "our" faithfulness, but by "God's" faithfulness to us. God, through His son, has promised to radically save us and all we are asked to do is to trust in Him. Whether big questions, small questions, trials or mountain top experiences...the trust in a loving God and His Son, Jesus Christ is what truly matters in the end. 

Shattered Prayers: A Testing of a Father's Faith by Kenneth Ching will be available for purchase tomorrow (7/20/2016). Don't miss the opportunity to read this poignant text penned by a clearly passionate lover of Christ...it will change you!

Thank you to Kirkdale Press for this complimentary review copy of Shattered Prayers. I was not required to give a positive review, but only to read the book in it's entirety and provide an honest opinion.