Kenneth Ching lived a comfortable life–with a great job, a big house, and an easy faith. He went to church and believed in God’s goodness. But when his son is born with a serious and rare genetic condition, his life is thrown into terrifying chaos.
In this honest and raw memoir, Ching brings to life his experience of letting go while learning to truly trust the Savior he claims to know. Ching doesn’t shy away from asking the hard questions: Why does God answer some prayers but not others? How does prayer work? Is God even listening?
Shattered Prayers is ultimately a story about recognizing God’s presence and faithfulness in the midst of brokenness. And how one man thought God ruined his life by giving his son a terrible disease, but eventually realized God was actually fighting to save his faith and his son’s life.
When I was contacted about this book, I wasn’t sure it was my kind of read since I had never heard of the author before. I also knew I was a little backed up on book reviews and didn’t want to undertake anything I couldn’t honor the commitment on, so I told the publisher I was running about six weeks behind on book reviews. They were completely fine with that timeline, so I accepted and they sent me the book.
I put it in my carry-on bag as I traveled from Florida to San Diego to visit my parents. As luck would have it, I was able to read this book cover to cover in one sitting – on a plane, that is.
The main character is the author, Kenneth Ching, who seems to have been dealt an idyllic life. He’s a lawyer making very nice money and he and his wife, Erin, are doing very well for themselves. They decide they want to begin a family (in addition to their two pups), and Erin becomes pregnant. They do what every couple does, they attend the right classes, she takes the right vitamins and other prenatal care and then they have the ultrasound, at which time they find out they are expecting a normal and healthy baby boy.
That’s where the story is ordinary. When the child, Joshua, is born, they learn he suffers from Pierre Robin Sequence, a genetic disorder where a child is born with an abnormally small jaw which can lead to all types of other disorders. He also has a rare genetic disease called 4q Deletion Syndrome as is discovered later down the line. Their worlds are rocked upside down with Joshua’s diagnoses, and Kenneth’s faith in God is tested to its limits. While he never loses faith, his hope is tested over and over in this true story.
We follow Ken and Erin as they learn the diagnosis, the treatment, the many surgeries, and the baby’s suffering, all in the first year of his life. At the end of the story, the child is not healed, but he is growing and learning. While he will be slower than other children his age, he has hope for his lifetime. Ken and Erin go on to have a second child, a daughter, and deep in Ken’s heart he believes she too will have PRS. When Zoey is born, they learn that she does not have PRS and is a healthy, normal baby.
What makes this book a must read for everyone is how the author is very honest and vulnerable. He shows us how he is feeling about God answering or not answering his prayers for his child, his wife, and himself. We see him struggle with depression and at the end of the day, we see his walk with God and how it doesn’t fail him no matter what obstacles he is faced with in life. He doesn’t sugarcoat his walk either – we get to see a real person and how he is faced with such a struggle in life.
Who is Kenneth Ching: “I’m a Christ-centered writer. I’m also the father of a special needs child, Joshua. He was born with Pierre Robin Sequence and a rare genetic disease called 4q Deletion Syndrome. My memoir, Shattered Prayers, about how Joshua’s health crisis affected my relationship with God will be published by Kirkdale Press on July 20, 2016. I live in Reno, Nevada with my wife, Erin, my daughter, Zoey, and Joshua. I’m a lawyer and a writer. I’ve also been a law professor and journalist, janitor and lawn mower. I’ve held positions at organizations such as World Vision and Regent University. You can read my blog at kennethching.com”.
I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion and review.