It’s interesting how someone’s life looks different from a distance than it does up close. This is the feeling I am left with when I weigh my view of Steven Curtis Chapman against his own telling of his life story.
Chapman’s music has been a part of my life since I saw him in concert in the early 90s. He has been a great source of songs that have defined key parts of my own experience, and I have followed his personal struggles from a distance. Particularly the death of his daughter Maria, which is the point about which this book turns. Reading this account was altogether different than hearing about it in the news, though. I watched the Larry King interview he mentions. I saw him sitting there with Mary Beth and the kids and I thought, “this guy really has it together. Look a the disaster he has suffered, and look how well he has done.”
But that is not the story of this book. This is the story of how a crushing loss can be the explosion that tears apart marriages and families. It is the stubborn grip that Chapman keeps on his faith, and how faith does not create magic cures or holy forcefields. Loss will come and faith may be our only refuge.
Certainly this is a great book for fans. Chapman talks about the backgrounds for many of my favorite songs, which was my initial interest in the book. But there is so much more. This is a great book for people going through grief, marriages on the brink of dying, and people who don’t know what they want to do with their lives. Its a peek into the life of someone who has enjoyed soaring success and gut-wrenching personal destruction. A quote near the end is by far my favorite: “some things are unfixable, so we learn to live with the tension — and ask God for more grace to continue to trust him.”