Is it bad form to review a book I was involved in publishing? Perhaps so. Either way, I intend to do just that this morning. Many months ago I read a draft of Grieving, Hope, and Solace by Albert Martin, a book that was subsequently published by Cruciform Press (of which I am a co-founder). It wasn’t until this weekend that I thought to read the final product that had emerged after the editing process. I was so blessed by this little book that I just had to let you know about it.
Grieving, Hope, and Solace, as you probably surmised from the title, is a book about death. More particularly, it is a book about Christians and death. The book arose from a question Albert Martin grappled with following the death of Marilyn, his wife of 48 years: “Although in many ways she had been taken from me incrementally during her battle with that wretched disease, the reality of the finality of death and the radical separation it effects swept over me. A few moments later, as I picked up her lifeless body, I found myself asking the question—What precisely has just happened to Marilyn? What has she experienced, and what is she experiencing now? Immediately I knew that if I would grieve as I ought, I had to be able to answer that question out of the Scriptures with absolute certainty.”
He knew that one whole chapter of his life had closed and that the Lord was now calling him to something new. Whatever that new thing was, he wanted to glorify God in it. “I felt very keenly the pressure of 1 Corinthians 10:31, ‘So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do [including grieving the loss of a godly wife], do all to the glory of God.’” Even in his grief he wanted to honor the Lord.
As a lifelong preacher he set himself to the task of preparing sermons that would search out and explain what the Bible teaches about death, about what his wife was experiencing and about how he was to react in his grief. The sermons formed the basis for this book, though I am glad to say that it does not read like a sermon series. It is, in fact, a wonderful little book that is packed full of hope and faith and gospel.