Book: Luminous Dark: Leaning into pain, holding on to God, breaking through to light by Alain Emerson

Alain Emerson felt like the luckiest man in the world. The talented pastor of a thriving church and national director of the 24-7 Prayer movement, he had found and married Lyndsay, the girl of his dreams, his soulmate.

He could never have imagined that, in a matter of months, he would be nursing his beautiful twenty-three-year-old wife through the final stages of cancer, and would find himself a young widower, distraught and alone. The faith that had once seemed firm and secure felt like it was crumbling. And then there were the questions. Hadn’t he been faithful and obedient? Why had God not answered his prayers? Why was God silent now? Why? Alain realised that in order for his faith to survive he needed to face God, not to hold him at arms’ length, but, like Jacob, to wrestle, and like Job, to voice his pain and disappointment.

In this profound exploration of loss, Alain Emerson walks through the stages of grief, pain and shock, of choosing to lean into the pain, to face God with his disappointment. He experiences the bewildering silence of God, the absence of simple answers, and walks into the dark tunnel of despair. Taking great comfort from the Psalms and the work of writers who truly understand – Wiesel, Brueggemann, Moltmann – Emerson wrestles with God and with his grief, and emerges with a stronger and deeper faith, and a sense of having seen God’s face.

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Alain Emerson is Irish National Director of 24-7 Prayer and a lead Pastor at Emmanuel Church, a thriving young church in Lurgan, Northern Ireland. Alain has a passion to see God do a `new thing’ in Ireland. He is married to Rachel and they have two daughters, Annie and Erin. Alain is a former Irish league footballer who now enjoys watching sport rather than playing it.


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