In 1996 Jerry Sittser, professor of religion at Whitworth College, published A Grace Disguised, the story of his family's tragic car accident (it claimed his wife, mother, and young daughter) and the faithful manifestation of God's grace in the midst of searing pain and loss. Though writing the book was "an unpleasant task" and "did nothing to explain or justify the accident," it has helped thousands of people navigate their own grief.
Now, more than 15 years later, in A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life (Zondervan), Sittser shifts focus, inviting us to read with our own stories in mind. How, he asks, do our stories—guided and directed by the Spirit of God—intersect with the much grander, deeper story that ripples through the pages of the Bible, the story that reaches its fulfillment in Jesus Christ?
Sittser's period of grief has afforded him ample opportunity to ponder this question. How could it not? He—as do each of us—has a life story in which God's larger story of redemption has manifested itself. The car accident and its aftermath, good and bad, are but one pane in the multicolored window of Sittser's life, the stained glass that God has blown and shaped, through which the light of a much greater story shines.
Even this tragic event, he writes, "does not stand on its own or exist unto itself. It is part of a larger story. In that moment, I have no idea how; that is for me to discover in the future. For now, in the painful silence, it is enough to know there is a story out there that can make sense of my own. But it is not merely a story; it is the story."
As we surrender to Christ, God's story, the story, can ...