Groothuis, Douglas. Walking Through Twilight: A Wife’s Illness – A Philosopher’s Lament. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2017. 176 pp. $17.00. Purchase at Amazon or Kindle for less.
I have reviewed a couple of Dr. Groothuis’ works in the past including Philosophy in Seven Sentences and Christian Apologetics. He is a well-known philosophy professor at Denver Seminary as well as a Christian apologist. This particular book is a diversion from his normal writing genre and is more autobiographical in nature.
Divided into 19 chapters with 9 interludes, this work is organized somewhat chronologically though it is more free-flowing than that. While each chapter could readily stand alone, there is a richness in reading it cover to cover understanding that there will be moments of rich theological reflection mixed with human wrestling with the One who has deemed this the path of choice for the Groothuis family.
You will get to know, Becky, Dr. Groothuis’ loving wife as well as Sunny, their loving Goldendoodle dog. More importantly, you will see faith in action.
Sometimes you pick up a book expecting it to challenge you and sometimes it meets those expectations. Often times it does not. Walking Through Twilight was both. This book did more than meet my expectations. It far exceeded any expectation I might have had. Having journeyed digitally with Dr. Groothuis via Facebook as he wrestles with God and the sweet hand of bitter providence in the life of his beloved Becky, I figured I would be treated to something profound. I was not prepared for what I read.
I picked this book up at 9:30 on a Friday evening. I finished it by 9:30 Saturday evening. I would have finished it by midnight Friday but sleep overtook me and the responsibilities of Saturday kept me from reading until later in the evening. Regardless, all I could think about was getting back to this book. It is raw and gutsy. Dr. Groothuis shows what it is like to have a deep-rooted faith in a loving God while still wrestling with Him.
Doug’s willingness to model biblical lament both incorrectly and as biblically informed is commendable and praiseworthy. Many Christians today do not know how to lament properly. Doug points out that he is still learning what it means to lament, but that is part of the process of sanctification and it is ok. He recognizes that God is still present and active and has not left him or forsaken him, but he also admits that he often feels at a loss to comprehend everything in light of what he knows to be true.
While there are certainly going to be theological points that Dr. Groothuis touches on in this book that you very well may disagree with, here is not the time or the place to engage those disagreements. Rather, now is the time to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). In this instance, we weep at the trials and tribulations and rejoice at the hope found in Christ all the while learning what it means to lament with hope.
Rarely have I picked up a book and not been able to put it down. Walking Through Twilight is one of those books that you will read through quickly only to find yourself wanting to go back and read again slowly. This book should be must reading for all hospice and in-home workers as well as pastors and anyone who is wrestling with long-term care of a loved one with dementia. As I said above, this book is raw and gutsy. It represents what I believe to be Dr. Groothuis’ greatest contribution to Christendom because of its practicality rooted in deep faith that has been on public display for decades.