This is the 5th book in this five book series, ( I only found 3 for sale at my local library,) but again, I have to emphatically say that for $.10 each, it has been so worth it! My last post in this series was the 4th book, “Rejoice,” and this final installment, “Reunion”picks right up up where “Rejoice,” leaves off, it bringing the life of the Baxter family full circle. This entire series is known as, “The Redemption Series,” and it tells the wonderful story of the Baxters, John and Elizabeth (the parents,) their four daughters, Brooke, Ashley, Kari, Erin, and their only son Luke.
Books like this are so hard to talk about, because I feel such an obligation to the author not to “spoil” the story for someone who hasn’t read it. But, since it has been around for awhile, published in 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers, I suppose it’s alright. The main thread is that a cancer diagnosis has been given to Elizabeth the mother, and believe me, this is a real to life picture of the grace of God in this moment, and a genuine “how-to” guide on how a family of believers meet it.
There is hardly anyone who hasn’t felt the chill of cancer in their lives at some point. My wife Mary Ann’s parents both lost courageous battles to this dread enemy in their 40’s. I also lost both my beloved grandparents to it as well.
I sure miss them! I really do!
As I read these 367 pages, of “Reunion,” I realized that the Lord was using this wonderful author, Karen Kingsbury to teach us all, by example, how a true lover of Christ meets such a challenge. I’m a 55 year old man, and I wept at the courage, as well as the moments of weakness that John Baxter faced as he walked with his wife and children through this Valley of the Shadow of Death. I think I understand much more what my own family members had faced as well. I so remember that last night with my father-in-law, as we all knew it could be anytime, and he sat in that recliner speaking with us, and sharing his thoughts regarding his love for his family, Eternity, and the Lord. The next morning, we awoke to find that he had indeed left in the night, to his glorious “reunion.”
I cannot imagine, and pray as we all do, that I don’t find myself in a situation as illustrated in this selection from the book. Elizabeth and John have just received the news from their physician, that Elizabeth’s cancer of a more than ten year remission, has returned, and it is of an angry aggressive nature:
“The doctor was waiting for her response, but she couldn’t talk, couldn’t move or even blink her eyes. If she said anything at all,the the doctor’s diagnosis would be real. She would be sitting across from him in his office, John at her side, receiving the worst news of her life. And so she said nothing, only leaned hard into John’s arm.
That’s when she saw his eyes. For the first time in those awful minutes, Elizabeth caught a look at her husband’s face and saw how grim the situation truly was. John’s eyes were filled with fear. On occasion, she had seen John cry, seen him weep when Luke returned to the family or tear up when he walked Kari down the aisle. But this was the first time she’d ever seen raw, terrifying fear in her husband’s eyes.” (pg 12)
I don’t know how folks who don’t know the wonderful grace of our Lord, meet these obstacles. I mean I know that they do, and we all know people who do not have a relationship with God. Even you who are reading this may not know Him. If you don’t, please dear friend, I urge you to find a quiet place right now, alone, and simply talk with Him. Ask Him about Himself, and about your place with Him. Ask Him about His son, Jesus. Then talk to Him as well.
It might feel funny at first, but it’s a first step. He loves you. He loves me. Even through our failures, He love us. Even in our pain, He will comfort us. Please, don’t put off the opportunity to get to know the Creator of the Universe, and the One who died for you and me, so we could have our own “Reunion,” with Him some day.
It may be sooner than we think. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Read “The Redemption Series,” by Karen Kingsbury with Gary Smalley. I promise that you will not be disappointed.