I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal (WWPN). I knew the book was about a family’s journey as their son had cancer. I was probably expecting a book that was more autobiographical but what I got was a well crafted story which did indeed tell their family’s story but placed that story within the larger context of the one story. I can’t recall reading a book which was so theological rich and compelling but also well developed as a story. I’m not afraid to admit that as a father of two beautiful little girls around the age of the Kelley’s son I trembled, cried, and rejoiced through out their story. Micheal carefully chose snapshots of their struggle to encourage and teach us and to demonstrate the work of God in their lives.
It might be easy to write a story of this sort that ends up being overly sentimental but Michael was able to avoid this pitfall. He describes receiving the news of his son’s leukemia,
We had been to the doctor before. But something was different this time. Then he started saying words that I never expected to hear: “hematology”; “children’s hospital”; “call your wife”. [sic] Then he said the word that would become part of our everyday vocabulary at heart-breaking speed: “leukemia.”
What do you do with a word like that? How do you respond? What questions do you ask? I didn’t know; I still don’t know. But I think I do know that there are some words in our vocabulary that are heavier than others. They are the kind of words that linger in the air long after they are said. They echo in your mind and pierce your heart over and over again, and when they are first spoken, they drop to the pit of your stomach like lead. Leukemia. (p. 5)
What he did was skilfully weave their family’s story within larger biblical truths while also offering rigorous application. WWPN will challenge your notion about faith. It will jostle you wake and make you face the groanings of this fallen world head on. But Michael does not snuff out the flickering wick. He’s very careful in the way he handles these tough issues.
The Fight for Faith
A common theme that pops up through out WWPN was the fight for faith. He challenges the American notion that faith is merely a personal relationship or a mere assenting to certain facts about Jesus. While strongly holding to faith as a gift from God, he also strongly argues that our pilgrimage through life requires a constant fight for faith by the power of the Spirit (see chapter 10 and especially pp. 143-45). We must lay hold of this truth and hold it dearly if we are to face the suffering that will confront us at some point in our life.
I cannot recommend WWPN highly enough. I’ve already purchased two copies for members of my family and have recommended it to a half dozen other people I know who are going through struggles and will benefit greatly from the Kelley’s faith-building testimony. I wish WWPN was available four years ago when I was struggling intensely with my own faith. Don’t hesitate. Purchase this book now.
A free copy of this book was provided by B&H Publishing. If you plan on purchasing this book, consider supporting Grace for Sinners by using these links to purchase from Amazon, CBD, or Monergism.
Mathew Sims is an average Joe who works a 9 to 5 and blogs on the side. He is an editor and writer for Grace for Sinners. He lives in Simpsonville, SC and loves spending time with his two daughters, Claire and Maddy, and wife of seven years, LeAnn. He has a BA in English/Creative Writing and attended Geneva Reformed Seminary for two years completing nearly 40 hours hours of an Mdiv program. He and his family serve and are members at Grace Church. He loves reading, writing, the outdoors, music, cooking, and is an Apple fan boy. You can find him on twitter @GraceforSinners and Facebook. Please email me with any questions or comment below.