I was given a pre-publication copy of Resurrection Year to review.
This is Sheridan’s own introduction to the book:
From there I was fascinated. Who amongst us hasn’t got a shattered dream of one kind or another?
The book opens with diary excerpts over 10 years. Ten years of hope, anticipation, prayer, yearning, trying for a baby – and ultimately crushing disappointment. It’s a heart wrenching account of belief and prayers – and nothing happening – or not the one thing that is wanted. This is a real story about real people who have their certainties and trust in God challenged. It raises challenging questions about faith and life.
The strapline for the book is
Turning broken dreams into new beginnings
And after a wilderness journey, the resurrection year is what’s needed for Sheridan’s wife Merryn – but at what cost to him? As Sheridan leaves behind his very effective ministry in Australia.
As they fly to Europe to start a new chapter in their lives, Sheridan and Merryn spend some time in Switzerland, where they explore the very difficult and age-old questions of why bad things happen to good people, and all the issues that surround that.
In my personal situation, I was struck by one sentence:
“Like chronic illness…. and other life statuses that deviate from the norm, infertility can remove you from community” (p 169)
I have found that to be so true – and something that people who aren’t in those situations don’t fully appreciate, and aren’t sure how to handle. Maybe reading this book gives us all chance to reflect?
This book also raises the tricky question of prayer, and when and how to pray for people with chronic or long-lasting “conditions”. The struggle when people want to pray for your “situation” – it’s not lack of faith; and the balance of getting it right. This is something that needs sensitivity and love.
I was delighted that Sheridan and Merryn had the same experience in Sacré-Cœur as we have had on several occasions of the worshipfulness of the place. This leads Sheridan to a pondering of what dreams and aspirations Jesus had to give up to submit to God’s will. Perhaps Gethsemane is the true place of discovery of Jesus’ pain and suffering that can help us come to reconcile ours. Jesus knows exactly how rubbish the world can be, how cruel, how apparently unjust… Jesus knew and questioned God’s absence at his moment of need. Yet God is and was never absent. Death was not the end. Resurrection was coming.
Don’t be put off thinking this book is just about infertility and its effects. It is for anyone grappling with the issues of apparently unanswered prayer, struggles in their life, or feeling that things haven’t quite worked out as they should have. It is for all those who’ve had a dream that’s never been realised – which is some way or another is most of us. It doesn’t answer all the questions, but is honest about what those questions are and gives the opportunity to think some of them through.
Some of the Australian references went over my head – but didn’t detract from the story.
This is an honest and open grappling of the questions of life and faith. Sheridan and Merryn have been brave and vulnerable enough to share their story to help bring resurrection hope to the rest of us.
Thank you for telling it.