There is something freeing, although terrifying, about sliding into the passenger seat by your worst fear and then staying buckled in to witness how it all plays out. And, there is something transforming, although uncomfortable, about choosing to enter in to another’s pain – not to fix, not to preach – but to simply identify with it out of compassion.
The book, Walk Through Fire, invites us to do just that.
On August 20, 1999, a horrific explosion at work blew up the Bowers’ quiet world, leaving David grasping for life with a 125% percent mortality rate. Through this true story, readers are ushered into a beeping, nurse-filled hospital room where David Bowers lays attached to devices and monitors. Over 94% of his body is covered in burns. His wife, Carly, reeling from the news, is torn between how to describe this scene to her children and yet remain present for her husband. The grueling days ahead are filled with surgeries, the dreaded tub room where David’s burned skin must be scraped away, therapy toward a new normal, and countless desperate prayers.
This is a story that most shudder to even consider, much less intentionally read. In it, the Bowers share with honesty and vulnerability about how this accident impacted their marriage, their children, and their faith in God, as well as the redeeming power of community, prayer, and love.
And, it would be cliché to say this story is a message of hope, of inspiration, of triumph over tragedy. It is all that, and it is a hard-won, heart-filled invitation to greater bravery and deeper compassion.
Why bravery? Because we all fear the unknown – the possibility of tragedy and suffering. But, this book throws back the heavy curtain of dread to reveal an outcome; and, while it’s not all rainbows and puppies, it is realistic, hope-filled, and encouraging. In it, we have proof that God is big enough and love is strong enough, and although nothing looks the same anymore, it’s possible to adapt well enough and again have joy.
Why compassion? Because personal, true stories are offered up on the most vulnerable of platters. They are cut from deep places within us and laid bare before a world that is sometimes too busy, too consumed to bend low and take on the burden of another’s pain-filled story. And yet, when we step into another’s tragedy and loss, we are changed. For good reason, Scripture tells us to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15) and to “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). Simply, because in identifying with another’s story, our hearts develop a new level of compassion, and our faith gains a new foothold of truth. More importantly, we begin to look just a little bit more like Jesus, who willingly entered our mess of pain and sin in order to carry our burden up a certain hill. Maybe that doesn’t sound appealing, but maybe it’s just what our hearts need.
So, while this book throbs with the reality of tragedy, David and Carly’s story also shows us that healing, the true healing of physical as well as spiritual and emotional wounds, is possible. And, while not an easy read, this story gives opportunities to process our fears, as well as cultivate the compassion we desperately need to love others well. Finally, a Walk through Fire displays a tangible picture of hope; in it we see the power of community when butted up against tragedy, the stark contrast between dread and faith, and how a foundation of Jesus Christ refuses to give way under even the most challenging of trials.
Would you like connect with the Bowers?
Purchase the book // The Bowers’ story Walk through Fire on Amazon.
Visit their site // www.bowersministry.com
Follow on Facebook // www.facebook.com/BowersMinistry