November 26, 2018 2 min to read
Book Review: Joy in the Journey
Category : Book Review
Joy in the Journey: Finding Abundance in the Shadow of Death by Steve and Sharol Hayner, reviewed by Madelle Payne:
From the book cover: “Steve Hayner was serving as president of Columbia Seminary and was healthy and fit when he found out he had pancreatic cancer. He and his wife, Sharol, embarked on a journey together with their children that soon included tens of thousands of visits from friends and acquaintances via the CaringBridge website. The overwhelming response to their posts attested to the surprising and engaging way they chose to live in the face of death. Steve was always known for closing letters and emails before his signature with, “Joyfully.” These pages, including reflections from some of those closest to Steve and Sharol, offer us a glimpse into what it means to walk in honesty, with joy, even through great pain.”
The posts were gathered together into this book after Steve’s death. John Ortburg, senior pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, states, “I’m grateful their searing, aching, honest, inspiring words are now permanently available. I cannot imagine a human being who would not benefit from it.”
Joy in the Journey was given to my husband and me during a season of pain as we dealt with his two kinds of cancer. When I read it, sometime later, I found it presented a wonderful model of godly folks who were simply being real in the face of suffering…and being willing to share their experiences with others, allowing us to watch them walk with God a day at a time. A sampling of blog titles includes: Space for Questions; I’m Tired of Not Feeling Well; Sunshine. Family. Food.; Making the Most of the Ups and Downs; Awkward Conversations; When You Can’t Plan Tomorrow; and All Kinds of Miracles.
But it’s not just a book about dying well. I also found it to be full of the wisdom honed by two people who have lived well. I had to read it a second time, just to highlight the valuable insights on relationships, leadership, loving people and walking joyfully with one’s God, among other things. Thank you to Steve and Sharol Hayner for making themselves vulnerable and allowing others to walk with them through their experience!
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