About the Book
Author: Dann Stouten
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Release date: May 28, 2021
When Psychologist Rocky DeVos lost his wife to cancer, he also lost his faith in the fairness of God. For over a year, he lived in the thin space between his love for God and his hatred for what he believed God did. Each night, he banged on heaven’s gate demanding an explanation.
“Why Rachel, Lord? Why would you let her suffer like that? Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you give us a miracle?”
The longer his prayers went unanswered the more frustrated he became. Eventually, he meets God’s silence with a silence of his own. But then, a year and four months later, the answer arrives disguised as a homeless vagabond who claims to be the apostle Paul. Clearly, Rocky believes he was delusional. But in their court-appointed sessions, he finds a kindred spirit. As Paul unpacks the pain of losing his wife in childbirth the two men connect. Rocky believes he’s there to help Paul. Paul believes the opposite.
The book explores the thin space between faith and doubt. Rocky’s questions are our questions. At some point we will all lose someone we love. When we do, we will find comfort in the company of those who have walked the path of suffering before us. Rocky invites us to join him on his journey of redemption. His conversations with Paul will not only change the way he thinks about God, they may do the same for you as well.
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This novel is a refreshing exploration of the grief process and the faith and doubt struggle that often ensues. Stouten has done a great deal of research. The novel is very informative on the life of Paul. It includes good teaching and reflects the honest struggle of relating to God when one has lost a loved one. I liked the teaching on the devil, trying his best to drive a wedge between the believer and God, whatever it takes. I like the setting of Holland, Michigan and all the references to Dutch culture, like banket. (Yum.)
Stouten's writing style results in an engaging novel. It is thought provoking. An example is thinking through what God requires of us. Micah says, partly, we are to act justly and love mercy. Rocky wonders if we can require the same of God. He felt God had not acted justly nor loved mercy when He allowed Rachel to die so young. Rocky reflected that he did not stop believing in God but did change his view of how God operated. Thought provoking indeed.
Stouten has explored that thin place between dreams and reality. This novel might belong in the genre of magical realism. The magical is the appearance of (perhaps) Paul while the reality is death and grief. The novel explores well the tug of war in our souls in the face of God seeming silent. Potential readers should be aware that the novel contains much about cancer and dying. The raw feelings portrayed may be hard for someone recently experiencing deep grief.
Food for thought: “...faith is not intended to keep bad things from happening but rather to keep us when they do.”
My rating: 4/5 stars.
About the Author
When we lose someone we love, our faith is either strengthened or strangled. That death will drive us closer to God or drive us farther away. We find ourselves in The Thin Space between wanting to believe and wondering if we do. For a time, faith and doubt play tug-o-war with our souls. In the end, whether we chose to believe or not is often decided by the stories we’re told. My prayer is that my words might bring people comfort and bring them closer to God.
More from Dann
There is a thin space between faith and doubt, and when we lose someone we love, the lines can sometimes get blurred. Unanswered prayers hang heavy on our hearts, and grief can even cause us to question God. In those moments of uncertainty, we often find comfort in the company of those who’ve walked the path of suffering before us. Their story and our stories intertwine. The Thin Space invites us to walk alongside of Rocky DeVos as he tries to navigate life’s most challenging moments. It is honest, comforting, and dares ask the questions we so often are afraid to explore. It will challenge the way you think about God and is a must read for anyone who’s lost someone they love.
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