I kept seeing this book, “My God Is True!” by Paul D. Wolfe, on the book table at church and I was curious about it. I finally decided to read it, and I’m glad I did. This is a good book for anyone to read who has cancer, or who knows someone who has cancer. In fact, I think it’s good for any of life’s Dark Roads which we all travel.
The author, John Wolfe, is an Associate Pastor at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, Virginia. He was a newly married student in seminary when non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was discovered near his spine. It was actually affecting his ability to walk by the time he was diagnosed.
He wrote his book in three parts. In the first, he discussed some things that he acknowledges are controversial. It has to do with the interaction of human agency, divine control and God’s purposes. Hang with him, even if you don’t agree. At the very least, you will gain a good understanding of how some Christians view these things, and understanding fellow brothers and sisters is always a good thing. You may see why some folks (myself included) see this as a Biblical view, and how it is also a comforting view. He goes on to discuss our expectations of outcomes and the differences between false hopes and hope based on truth. He uses punctuation marks – exclamation points and question marks – to illustrate how we confuse things. Sometimes we put exclamation points after the things we think are certain in life, such as our plans for marriage, jobs, retirement, and such. Then, we put question marks after things like God’s love for us, His presence with us always, and His promises that we will spend eternity with Him in a real place. As you can see, we get it backwards. Paul Wolfe helps us determine which things are certain and how we know these things to be so. Keeping this straight has a lot to do with experiencing healthy spiritual hope.
In the second part, he talks about his experience, the progression of pain in his back before he was diagnosed and the series of treatments he received. He talked about how to handle it when friends want to help. People will want to and he says to let them. This is how they are being obedient to God’s Word, and to try to be self-sufficient is to deny them that opportunity.
The third part really gets down to some nitty-gritty, and the author is really good at handling this stuff. This is where the reality of death is confronted. The sting has been removed for the Christian because sins have been forgiven, but Paul Wolfe says we should not pretend that death is pleasant, because it is not. We weep and pray just as Jesus did. We have doubt and discouragement mixed with hope. These are hard things we all wrestle with in any difficult circumstance, which is why I think this is a good book to read, even if one isn’t dealing with cancer. After admitting how we really feel, then we can grow. Paul Wolfe explains how to turn our head around so we can see God for who He really is and relate to Him, not based on our misconceptions (he also explains how we get those), but we can relate to Him in truth, based on who He really is (sovereign, wise and good). We are given reasons to hope, no matter what the outcome, in any situation.
This book is full of scripture which shows us that God is so much bigger and so much more loving and wise than we sometimes make Him out to be when we are on our Dark Roads. Paul Wolfe also reminds us that these are Roads that we travel, and travelers aren’t permanent residents, lest we get our perspective skewed and lose sight of our destination. If you want to read this book, one place that sells it is Monergism Books. I’ve ordered from them before and recommend them as a good source for good books.