Carr discusses maintaining faith through tribulation in this debut Christian memoir.
The Book of Job says that “man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward,” and it is with Job in mind that Carr offers this account of how he dealt with his life’s trials. An architect and Pentecostal bishop, the author was married for 54 years to his wife, Patricia, who suffered for most of that time from myasthenia gravis, a rare muscular disease. The decades of sickness, he says, gave her many moments of frustration and doubt. They also, at times, shook Carr’s own faith: “I just wait for the next thunderbolt to fall,” he wrote in an article for a Pentecostal magazine, “knowing that the present pain is so great that a little more will not matter. I’m crumbling inside, and all the vain platitudes from fellow saints are the mouthing of cold comfort.” For Carr and his wife, though, faith always returned—sometimes, he says, due to direct communication from God. The author uses these moments of epiphany, supplemented with Bible stories, anecdotes, and allegories from history and popular culture to present the case for faith, even during times when believing seems impossible. It’s one thing to have a formal creed—a nominal religion that one follows and relates to in an abstract or academic way—but the author calls for readers to pursue a living creed, celebrating and affirming one’s faith with one’s actions. Overall, Carr is a thoughtful, practiced writer, and he depicts his wife’s condition and its accompanying difficulties in a way that will move any reader, regardless of his or her religious beliefs. His spiritual message is strongly Christian, although it’s not as dogmatic or incurious as other authors who’ve sought to make similar arguments. Christian readers who sometimes find themselves insecure in their faith will likely take comfort in Carr’s words; he and his wife truly suffered in myriad ways, but he asserts that they managed to remain believers, due to their commitment to a living creed.
A pensive and empathetic spiritual memoir.