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Book Review: Beyond the Valley: Finding Hope in Life’s Losses by Dave Branon

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All through the ages the psalms of David have been attributed to different things. In some quarters it is regarded as a book of songs,to others it is a book of spiritual warfare. Even other schools of thought see it as a collection of poetic chronicles about the lifestyle of a grass-to-grace believer.

Regardless of these varied theological definitions one thing that stands out is: David, though He loved God, never had a easy run though life!

"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…" is a sombre and scary place to be as written in Psalm 23. It is here in that valley that Dave Branon, in his new book, bravely takes readers through the sour moments in the 'ditch and the life-changing walk' through unto healing in Beyond the Valley which his family had to endure after suffering a terrible tragedy.

In Beyond the Valley some salient truths about coping with grief and despondency from a Christian perspective were shared in all nine chapters. Looking beyond the valley in the wake of a tragedy makes no sense to the victim, just as circumnavigating through the Atlantic Ocean without a compass or any instrument does. At such state, the victims would wish they had rather drowned alive and brought closure to the whole saga.

Yet in Beyond the Valley Dave warns against "trying to question or figure out the Sovereignty of God in the face of all economic hardship, poverty, disasters, and daily questions, which is like a chicken arguing with man's choice for poultry as "meat." This only breeds a disenchantment with God since victims of such situations are unable to rationalise God's thought processes, thus they'd put off believing in Him altogether. Rather, as believers we'd do well to learn to live a day at a time, which is a good antidote against a shattered-yet-planned-future.

For me the core of 'beyond the valley' that makes profound sense is where Dave dealt on the subject of ignorance of comparing one's life challenges or tragedies with those of others. This has often led to a misconception in how to console, deal, or connect with grieving people.

Dave's explanation for this is as quoted from the book: "Not all accidents, mishaps, life situations are the same; besides the process of reaction to recovery too however similar varies and are never the same as those suffered by others"! Therefore it follows to say, that no two similar circumstances or problems are the same!

Against this backdrop, we need to quit comparing our walk with the Lord, or our life's challenges with those of others. Except if such situation is of a redemptive nature and in the same context or attitude as undertaken by Jesus Christ when He endured torture at the cross for us!

Beyond the Valley is though a small book, yet packed with practical and real life accounts of a family's quest and struggles at finding reasons to live on in the midst of life's losses.

Dave Branon and his family's rediscovery of hope beyond the valley is a testament that "there's always a light at the other end of a dark and dreary tunnel." I will certainly recommend this for all those grieving, or still battling with questions about God's faithfulness.

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A niche media commentator, technophile and entrepreneur. A frequent freelance writer for major media outfits apart from running own weblogs. A few of which include; Yahoo voices, Lionsgate, EMI Music, Audiofile Magazine et al.