Thursday, June 7, 2007

Wait Until Then

Randy Alcorn's Wait Until Then is both touching and wise. Any parent who wants to explain what happens to us when we die, how to deal with the death of a loved one, and how to cope with serious disappointment will want to read this book with their child.
The book introduces us to Nathan, a boy of about 9 or 10, and his grandfather. We learn that Nathan loves baseball, and that his grandfather once played in the major leagues. Nathan and Gramps share lots of good times playing catch, talking about baseball, and fishing, but Nathan has a great disappointment in his life. He's in a wheelchair. Too, Gramps is slowing down. He uses a walker, and he has cancer.

Yet when Nathan asks Gramps if he misses baseball, Gramps replies he'd rather play catch with Nathan than play next to some of the great major league players. "I'm grateful for my baseball years," Gramps says. "But they weren't as important as other things - like marrying your grandma and having children, including your mother."
Gramps tries to help Nathan cope with his negative feelings about being in a wheelchair. When Nathan bemoans the fact that he can't play ball, Gramps reminds him: "One day you will [run the bases]...God promises that one day we'll live on a New Earth. He'll fix everything. Nothing will be bad there. And we'll have better bodies than the greatest Olympic athletes." Gramps also tells Nathan that God had a special reason for putting Nathan in a wheelchair, whether or not they can see what it is just now. He also explains what Nathan needs to do to accept God's gift of salvation.
Then Gramps goes to the hospital. When Nathan visits, Gramps reminds him: "I want you to love Jesus and pray to him every day. It's fine to enjoy baseball. But remember, everything we love should cause us to love Jesus more, not less." Gramps dies, and Nathan recalls everything his grandfather taught him. He looks forward to the day he and Gramps can play baseball together.

The last two-page spread of the book shows Nathan running the bases on God's New Earth.

What I Like: This book could easily have been trite or preachy, but it's neither. The story brought tears to my eyes, and I believe it will touch you and your children, too. I also like that Alcorn has backed up his fictional story with plenty of Bible verses. And the illustrations, by Doron Ben-Ami, are amazing! They are rich and much so, many look like photographs, not drawings. I can't imagine better illustrations for this book.
What I Dislike: If you're not a baseball fan, there might be a a couple of moments where you find yourself wondering what the characters are talking about. However, the moments pass quickly, and do not detract from the overall beauty of the book.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: 9 - 12, although some younger listeners will enjoy it, too.
Publishing Info: Tyndale, 2007; ISBN: 1414310412 ; hard back, $14.99
Buy Now at Amazon for $11.69.
Special Info: Author Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries. Check out their website for great ministry articles, sound clips, and more. To see some of Doron Ben-Ami's amazing illustrations from this book and others, visit his website.

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