Wrestling with an Angel: A Story of Love, Disability, and the Lessons of Grace, by Greg Lucas
Endorsed by Joni Eareckson Tada, Justin Taylor, Noel Piper, Russell Moore, David Murray, and more.
Jake Lucas, the oldest of four children, lives with severe physical and mental challenges. Caring for him each day is an ordeal few of us can imagine, and this story of Jake’s first 17 years is not one you will soon forget. But the remarkable thing is how the whole narrative is saturated with wonder at the grace and goodness of God, who brings hope and promise through his Son into the darkest of circumstances.
In this book, we see that Jake’s problems are our problems, only bigger, and the challenges of caring for him carry profound lessons about God’s care for us. Wrestling with an Angel is about tragedy and laughter and pain and joy. It is about faith and grace and endurance and God’s unfailing, loving wisdom daily being worked out in each of our lives, whatever the nature or extent of our difficulties. Here is a book that may explain faith to you in ways you never quite grasped, through a life few of us can relate to. When it is all done, we come away better able to live as Christ calls us to live.
Greg Lucas is a husband, the father of four, a police officer in West Virginia, and a graduate of Boyce College.
“An unforgettable ride…brutally honest and deeply moving.”
—David P. Murray
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“Witty…stunning…striking…humorous and heartfelt. In our culture which is so quick to devalue life, Wrestling with an Angel provides a fresh, honest look at one father’s struggle to embrace God in the midst of his son’s disability. Can sheer laughter and weeping gracefully coexist in a world of so much affliction? Greg knows all about it. And inside these pages he passes on his lessons of grace to us. I highly recommend this wonderfully personal book!”
—Joni Eareckson Tada, Joni and Friends International Disability Center
“I didn’t want to read this book. I knew these tear-stained but hope-filled pages would jostle me out of my comfort zone and shake me up. C.S. Lewis wrote that he paradoxically loved The Lord of the Rings because it ‘broke his heart’—and Greg Lucas’ writing does the same for me. And it’s for that reason that I heartily commend this book—especially for dads. This is just the book many of us need to taste afresh the goodness of God and the grace of the gospel even as we long for the day when this broken world will be made right.”
—Justin Taylor, Managing Editor, ESV Study Bible, blogger, Between Two Worlds (The Gospel Coalition)
“This is not primarily a book for parents of special needs children. There is only one disability that keeps a person from heaven. It is not physical or mental like Jake Lucas’ condition. It is the sin that lives in our hearts. Jake’s father, Greg, is a captivating storyteller. When he writes about life with Jake, I recognize God’s grace and loving persistence in my life. I want more!”
—Noël Piper, author, and wife of pastor and author John Piper
“You will laugh; you will cry. You will feel sick; you will feel inspired. You will be repulsed by the ugliness of sin; you will be overwhelmed by the love of God. Greg Lucas takes us on an unforgettable ride on the roller coaster of Christian experience, as he extracts the most beautiful insights into grace from the most painful experiences of life. This brutally honest and deeply moving book helps us to see that we all have special needs that only a special Savior can supply.”
—David P. Murray, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
“It is the rare book that makes much of God and our dependency on Him while also celebrating His goodness through hard things. Using his own example of parenting a child with significant disabilities, Greg demonstrates what relying on a sovereign God through extreme difficulty and suffering looks like. This book is a gift to the church, and particularly to men who need an example of masculine, Biblical leadership in the face of complex, confusing, and overwhelming circumstances. If you have ever confronted hardship and questioned God’s goodness, this book provides a real-life example of trusting in the promises of God.”
—John Knight, Senior Director for Development, Desiring God
“Jesus told us that we must suffer with him in order to be glorified with him. All of us in Christ face different sorts of trials, but they are all shaping us up for the same purpose: conformity with Christ. In this book, Greg Lucas gives insight into his own experience of cross-bearing. A family facing disability, or those who love and minister to people in such situations, will certainly benefit from this story.”
—Russell D. Moore, Pastor; Dean of the School of Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Author, Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches
“Greg communicates from a heart that loves Jesus deeply and does not shy away from the theological challenges his family context brings. Throughout the pages of this book, Greg has captured personal glimpses of grace in both amazing and, seemingly, mundane ways. Amazing as seen in God’s sovereign hand of protection. Mundane as portrayed in what would normally be a simple task but with Jake requires great grace. It is the grace Greg has described as amazing ‘grace-ability,’ on display in their son’s disability. As the father of a child with special needs, I wholeheartedly recommend Wrestling with an Angel.”
—Justin Reimer, Executive Director, The Elisha Foundation
Blog Review –
A must read…
I could not put this book down. Bravo to Greg Lucas for writing such a compelling and honest book about finding the grace of God in the midst of loving and raising an autistic child. This is a must read:
Parents of disabled children will laugh and cry as they read and relate to the stories; they will say “Amen” to the affirmations of God’s grace and the lessons learned; and they will be encouraged and instructed by many other insights into God’s grace that they might not have considered before.
People who know and love families with disabled children will have a greater appreciation and understanding of their world.
Still others who are trying to make sense out of any kind of adversity and wondering where God is in it all will benefit from this heartwarming and insightful book.
The Maryland Crustacean
Blog Review –
One of the touchstone books of my life…
Haven’t reviewed a book in a while. So a miracle has happened and I have indeed finished a book and feel good enough about it to actually write something concerning it. Most of the time, when I finish reading a book I usually don’t have a strong compulsion to want to tell people to go out and read it right away. This however is not the case with Wrestling With An Angel. This book by author Greg Lucas has become one of the touchstone books of my life. I don’t think I am saying that too lightly.
Greg Lucas operates a blog that I was pointed to by Jason Chang (hat tip engage). Gauging from how I responded to reading some entries in his blog, I clearly recall telling Susan right before I started reading, “Susan, I think this book is going to ruin me.” Wrestling With an Angel is a collection of short essays that Lucas has written, recounting experiences he and his family have with his mentally handicapped son. In humorous, heart wrenching, and pride crushing honesty, Lucas recounts how God has worked both in his life, the life of his son, and the life of his family. The absolute best thing about this book is his willingness to not back away from the hard truths of scripture, to look unflinchingly into what the Word of God says about our sinfulness and to accept it. Here’s an excellent excerpt:
(Speaking of the Gospel) But how is this applied in the life of an individual who cannot respond in faith or who does not have the ability to comprehend the basic truth of the gospel? I’m not thinking of the native in a distant, unreached part of the world, someone who at least has a general revelation to point him towards more specific revelation. I am thinking about my 17-year-old son, who literally has the mental capacity of a 2-year-old.
Many Christians approach this sticky theological topic with their feelings, bypassing biblical study in the fear that truth may not be as comforting as their emotions. We want to believe that infants, very young children, and mentally disabled people are basically innocent in the eyes of God. Should they die without having attained a certain degree of mental capacity, we assure ourselves, they are necessarily saved from His wrath. Certainly this is how God would do it, right? This rationalization feels good and makes sense to our heart.
Amazing! Certainly true and certainly things that I have thought. This kind of intellectual and theological integrity drove me to find comfort in the cross and in the love and grace of God. So theologically and intellectually this book is a complete win.
On a personal and emotional level, I have never read and cried as much as I have when reading a book. I wept at almost every other page. My crying and weeping must have been terribly distracting to Susan at Starbucks since she was trying to study and the folks around us were probably wondering what was going on. The best way I can describe my personal response to this book is that it feels like I am reading someone who has walked the same path I have walked, just who is a little bit ahead of me. Reading the book both reminded me of my past, my present, and my future as I read about Greg’s past, present and future. I wept for a lot of reasons. Another person who is a firm believer and is walking the difficult line in caretaking. The moments of, “Oh I remember feeling just like that…”.
The book is relatively short, its tenth chapter finishing up at 99 pages. I read it in its entirety in an hour and a half. That is not to diminish the book’s great worth – some of the best and most profound reading I have done has been in short books that were concise and relentless in their points (Knowledge of the Holy).
I highly recommend this book, even if you do not have experience in dealing with the mentally handicapped. The lessons and principles that Lucas shares in his book are valuable to all believers at any stage in their lives. While we struggle and strain to love those who may or may not ever learn to love us back just the way we want we can only be deeply humbled and broken and the deep, rescuing, adoptive love of God.”
The Prodigal Blog
Blog Review –
A reminder of God’s grace…
I just finished a really amazing book: “Wrestling with an Angel, A story of Love, Disability and the Lessons of Grace” by Greg Lucas. It is a short book, only 100 pages, but it is powerful. The author of a book is a father who has a son with some very significant needs. I cried several times while reading the book. It touched my heart. I want to share some things from the book that really spoke to me….
I needed to read this book right now. I have really been struggling lately and this book helped me work through some things. My mind has been consumed lately with things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things. I have this need to control and fix things…but I just can’t. I needed to be reminded of God’s grace and the strength that only He can provide me. I need to be reminded that He is in control and He is so much bigger than any problem, issue, crisis, or trial that I am facing. I just see a few pieces of the puzzle but God knows what the finished picture looks like. I am so lacking on my own, it is God that gives me what I need for the day. I just need to be reminded of that from time to time. It’s easy to get in a routine and just strive to get through the day and forget that God is eager and willing to help me. All I have to do is ask.
Here’s a recent interview of Greg.
Greg Lucas, author of Wrestling with an Angel, talks about his son, Jake.
[vimeo 24147969 w=600 h=338]
Wrestling With An Angel from Brian Patton on Vimeo.