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On a November evening in 2020, Tim and Aileen Challies received the kind of phone call that no parents can ever prepare for. Their son, Nick, a student at a U.S. college, had died instantly of a coronary incident while playing a sports activity together with his fiancée and sister. First aid from those present and paramedics could not revive the 22-year-old. 

The hearts and lives of the Challies family were broken open with unimaginable shock and grief.

Tim, a Toronto pastor and blogger, did what he knew best. He wrote through his sorrow from the immediate and practical steps of flying to be together as a family and then returning to plan a funeral to recording the deep pain and questions within his own heart.   

At a young age Nick had committed his life to Jesus. He had a clear sense of a calling to be a pastor like his father. He was engaged to be married in the spring of 2021. His life was filled with hope and promise. As a father with his own dreams for the future for his son, the senior Challies had to face his own questions of why God would allow such a tragedy.

Seasons of Sorrow is a weaving together of Challies’ reflections through the first year after their son’s death. He writes a manifesto, a profession of his faith that as a father he will accept his son’s death as God’s will and that God’s providence will and does give them the strength to live into the future. It is a bold and confident statement that does not remove the pain but offers comfort and hope.   

As the seasons of one year pass, Challies shares the painful, the unexpected, the feared, and the comforting moments that mark this family’s journey.    

Seasons of Sorrow offers many points of love, connection, and hope for those who live with loss. However, there will be those who have not experienced the clarity of God’s will in similar circumstances. For those readers Seasons of Sorrow might fall short. (Zondervan Reflective)


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