Bronner: A Journey to Understand
New Hope Publishers
Released January 2016
*I am not a professional book reviewer, but I love to write and when a new book particularly touches me I like to post a review here. *
I had to catch my breath before I could write a review of this wonderful book. I've read several works written by grieving parents over the years. My own family experienced two such losses and so I read these books from time to time to see how others process so terrible an event as a child passing. This, however, is no ordinary "grieving parent" book.
I have read books that obsessed for endless chapters about Heaven, in an effort by the author to draw comfort from the fact that their child now resides there.
I have read books that were on the verge of dabbling in the occult with their repeated claims of signs and sightings and "God nods" that somehow signified that their lost loved one was literally making their presence known on this plane.
But until reading this book, I had not read someone who rushed headlong into the awesome and terrifying truth that this is a fallen world, and the God whom we love and confess, the God whom we trust and obey, is the same God who can permit something so tragic because it is part of His greater plan. Harder still is facing that truth and somehow believing that He is no less good and loving that He was before the tragedy struck.
Sherri Burgess has done a masterful job of expressing the immense pain that she and husband Rick and their family experienced that dreadful January night. But beyond that, Sherri has dug deep into the scriptures to offer the hope and comfort that only those who truly trust God will know. When Paul speaks of the "Peace that passes understanding..." he is not referring to some mystical numbness that overtakes your devastated and shattered heart. He is talking about the deep, under-the-surface peace that comes from knowing somewhere in your soul that even this is somehow part of God's plan. The Burgesses lived it. They still live it. This is a story about the home-going of a precious child, but also of the dreams, plans, visions and hopes that are always wrapped up in our children. It's about arms that ache for a hug that doesn't come, ears that listen for a voice that has fallen silent, and a special place in the heart of a mom and dad that is for now filled only with memories and yearning. Thankfully it's also about the truth that those disappointments and sorrows are not eternal.
Sherri and Rick's story is breathtaking in it's pain and also in it's strength. Yes, God has granted them the peace that passes understanding, but He also granted them the Faith to say "It is well with my soul" even when the world is crumbling.
Beyond all this. Beyond the masterful way Sherri relates this story and recounts every painful step on the trail of tears and healing, there lies the fact that she is a masterful theologian. I have a Bachelors degree in Religion and I am beginning seminary this spring, I love the Word and have a deep respect for those who truly know how to "Rightly divide the Word of Truth." Sherri is amazing in her depth and breadth of biblical knowledge. One of the reasons I shy away from these books is because so frequently they contain so much terrible theology. This book is the opposite. This book is truth. It's not just for those who have experienced loss -because in the end, who hasn't- it's for those who know that life IS loss...but to be with Christ, both here on earth and in eternity, is truly gain.
Thank you Sherri and Rick for having the courage to walk back down that dreadful path and share this story with us all.
If you struggle with loss -whether of a child or a parent or sibling, or simply the loss of your plans and dreams- I cannot recommend this book highly enough.