A Widow’s Might: The Secret Of Finding Strength In God, by Judy A. Knox
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Aneko Press in exchange for an honest book review. A free e-book for this volume is available for readers.]
As this author says about another book that she refers to more than half a dozen times in the few pages of this short and immensely encouraging book, I do not agree with all of her theology, but at the same time there is a great deal of worth in reading about the reflections of a widow who is willing to write openly and honestly about her struggles, and more importantly, the help she has felt from God, in recovering from the death of her long-time husband after a ten-week hospital stay. The title, of course, is a punning reference to both the reference to the widow’s mite, and the great faith shown by someone relying on God, and the fact that the author claims to have a great deal of strength from Jesus Christ in overcoming the stress of life as an elderly widow who appears to have outsources many responsibilities to her late husband, only to find it necessary to take them on once he had died as a result of establishing a personal relationship with God.
In terms of its organization, the book is organized chronologically with flashbacks, and featuring some resources at the end to encourage readers, who are assumed to be women and likely often widows often, a reasonable assumption given that most people like to read about people whose situations closely mirror their own. The book begins at the moment of the author’s late husband Alan’s final illness, with a lot of foreshadowing, and discusses the course of that illness through the first third or so of the book. The author then discusses her widowhood and her efforts at personal growth and development, including taking up the cello and going to a Bible college. This book, although it does not end with the author speaking of a second marriage, is clear evidence of the fact that memoirs of people coping with difficult situations do not tend to be written until the author has reached a certain level of success and confidence that a happy ending can be convincingly written .
Although there is much to praise, including the author’s willingness to admit to a certain amount of immaturity in her faith and a long tendency not to apply the truths she believed intellectually, which is something that just about all of us can honestly admit to wrestling with in our own lives, there are also at least a few things to criticize about the author’s approach as well. For one, she seems to have a belief that far too many people believe in a merit-oriented view of salvation . Yet at the same time, her own writing leaves her open to justified criticism that she has adopted easy-believism, and failed to successfully resolve the fact that genuine faith will be shown by godly works, and that in the absence of such living faith one is not truly living up to one’s duties as a child of God. Additionally, the author appears to support a view of speaking in tongues that is not congruent with the biblical references to the fact that the languages spoken in Acts 2 and other places in the New Testament were not mystical mumbo-jumbo designed to make someone feel closer to God and especially spiritual, but were actual languages whose speaking was an aspect of evangelism in demonstrating the truth of God in a way that could be understood. Where there was no trustworthy interpreter of a given tongue, as there is not in contemporary Pentecostal churches, the proliferation of speaking in tongues, as was the case in Corinth, is all too often about personal pride rather than giving glory to God or effectively spreading the Gospel by godly instruction. That said, given that the author herself admits to seeking continued growth in knowledge and practice, one can expect this memoir, and the life it describes, to be a work whose ending has yet to be written, and that is a good thing.
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