EP Books; 125 pages; £7.95; ISBN: 978-0-85234-704-1
Losing a child is something no parent should have to experience, but sadly in this fallen world it happens. When God allows such a tragedy to strike a Christian family, it puts their faith on the front line. When Keren Baker’s family were faced with the sudden death of 2½-year-old Natalie, their faith was put to the test, and Keren catalogues what they went through in her book.
Empty arms is written in an honest, easy-to-read style which doesn’t minimize the pain of suffering but allows and embraces it as Christians should. Much of the book is autobiographical, as it charts the sudden departure of Nattie and the realities of life that follow.
Interwoven in her personal story is the bedrock of biblical truths that have given Keren and her family the comfort they needed to carry them through this trial. The Bible’s verses are not presented as a magic cure to suffering Christians – Keren honestly shares the difficulties she went through and how hard it was, at times, to apply biblical truth to her situation and keep her head above the waters of sorrow that threatened to engulf her and her family.
The book reaches its climax by focusing on the joys of heaven where there is no pain, tears, or sadness. It lifts the believer’s soul to new heights and appreciation for what Christ has died to purchase for his beloved.
Keren shares in her book advice given to her from the hospital’s bereavement team, and other things that helped her family’s grieving process. The tools to cope with grief are useful not just for individuals grieving, but for churches desiring to be a blessing and help to those going through bereavement.
The final chapter is particularly aimed at others and is divided into sections: ‘Be practical’, ‘Be available’, ‘Be faithful’, ‘Be prepared to cry’, ‘Be honest’ and ‘Be spiritual’. Empty arms is a good resource to have on hand for any church that wants to be prepared for life’s inevitable crises.