A couple years ago, a video about Ian and Larissa Murphy’s marriage went viral. In some ways, they exhibit a conventional story of young love. They met in college and wanted to get married. But Ian suffered a traumatic brain injury after a car accident. Their plans were tenuous at best as Ian lay in a coma in a hospital bed.

The accident came 10 months into their relationship. For the next two years, Ian worked to regain his ability to talk, then the couple began talking about marriage. Two years after that, they married on Ian’s late father’s birthday, 8-28-2010—a date referenced in the title of their new book, Eight Twenty Eight. The number also refers to a favorite Bible passage, Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (ESV).

Although both Ian and Larissa contributed to the book, most of the narrative takes place during the years of Ian’s coma and recovery. With graceful prose and fluid storytelling, Larissa explains the factors that led her to remain so intimately connected to Ian even though they were not yet engaged and his prognosis was grim.

At 29, Larissa still sounds at times like a young wife, learning to serve her husband and grow her faith as best she can. She is not a trained theologian, but she does not shy away from the theological questions posed by a traumatic brain injury. She writes honestly about the blessings they have experienced amidst, and even because of, the hardship of Ian’s long recovery and his different life with a disability.

Hers is a testimony to God’s faithfulness amidst woundedness, a testimony to the truth of Romans 8:28, ...

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