The Last Valley: A story of God’s grace in terminal illness

The Last Valley: A story of God’s grace in terminal illness
Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox Matthew Cox has served as pastor at Bethersden Baptist Church, Kent, since 2017, having previously worked in the social housing sector in Manchester. He is Book Reviews editor for Evangelical Times.
19 January, 2021 1 min read

In touching detail, Graham Heaps reflects on the terminal illness and subsequent death of his late wife Sue in 2015. It is by no means an enjoyable read, but it bears splendid testimony to the goodness and grace of God in so many ways.

We’re told briefly how this ‘incurable romantic’ (p.9) fell head over heels in love with his future wife during their student days, and it is plain that that devotion only grew throughout their 40-year marriage. He speaks in warm, affectionate terms of her labours as a pastor’s wife, a mother and a homemaker, and praises her as the selfless friend and confidante of many of the ladies in their church in Dewsbury.

Sue was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour only weeks before Graham’s retirement. From the perspective of a heartbroken widower, he describes her 11 months of declining health and her eventual home-call. In doing so he opens up his inner thoughts and emotions, his hopes and fears during the course of treatment, and the effects which her parting has had on his life. The tone is humble, honest, and often moving.

The lasting impression is of how the Lord maintained Sue’s cheerful faith as she traversed this ‘last valley’ – and upheld Graham as he walked alongside her – through the glorious hope of resurrection life, and the love and prayers of Christian friends.

While suitable to give to a non-Christian, this book will encourage the believer as well. Many of us secretly wonder how our faith would fare should tragedy strike. It can only bring comfort and reassurance to see how our Father pours out his plentiful grace on his children when they need it most.

The book ends with a happy postscript… But I’ll let you discover that for yourself!

Matthew Cox

Bethersden, Kent

Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox has served as pastor at Bethersden Baptist Church, Kent, since 2017, having previously worked in the social housing sector in Manchester. He is Book Reviews editor for Evangelical Times.
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