by Sheridan Voysey
On the surface, Resurrection Year is the personal story of a couple’s infertility and decade-long struggle to have a child. The story is unusual because it is told from the male perspective of a Christian radio show host/author who is at the top of his game in Australia.
The discouraging roller coaster of promise and disappointment that has been the pilgrimage of many couples from fertility clinics, adoption agencies and IVF treatments evolves into a crisis of faith and a rethinking of all this couple had ever believed about prayer, the Bible and their perception of God.
With the loss of dreams and expectations comes a vocational crisis as well, as author Sheridan and his deeply disappointed wife Merryn agree to make a big change—pursue a new adventure—in another country. The tables turn as she finds the “dream job” in her field of medical statistics in Oxford while he loses his high-profile identity as a successful radio personality and becomes an invisible writer with few connections and little clout.
This all leads to what for me was the pivotal chapter, “Wrestling with God on the Mountain,” a discussion between the pair about the problem of pain. They begin to discover that God doesn’t fit tidily into their “systematic theologies” and, like Jacob, they begin to wrestle with the angel. Until this chapter the story lacks “gut,” but with their insistence on answers (that don’t come) the two people and their story begin to have validity, and we are drawn (as always) to the truth-seekers who are left with a limp.
Though the story moves too quickly to a happy ending (if not the ending the couple has prayed for), it does at this point stop spouting the evangelical pat answers and begin to crack open a door to a God who cannot be pigeonholed or manipulated by our earth-infused expectations, but one who desperately loves His creation and whose grocery list for His children is always transcendent and eternal.
This book will not take readers as far as C.S. Lewis does in The Problem of Pain or Ken Gire does in The North Face of God, but it will walk them through a particular valley to the place where they can dare to abide paradox and embrace the mystery.