Theology in 3D

Tracing His Goodness

Layton Talbert | May 7, 2019

If you have flown enough, you know the experience of boarding under the frown of a dark, low-hanging sky of weeping grey-black clouds. Rain pelts your portal while you taxi then streaks backwards as you speed down the runway, lift off from the stability of solid ground, and climb towards the gloom. Then … nothing. Bumping blindly upwards through a vast cauldron of cumulonimbus soup, you cannot see a thing. Until. You suddenly angle up and out of the cloud bank into shocking sunshine and astonishing beauty that you could never see from below.

No one laboring under boiling black clouds thinks about what that storm looks or feels like from above. It takes an act of faith—like flying—to penetrate the darkness and view the tempest topside.

On September 2015, Marissa Bundy was diagnosed with Stage III triple negative breast cancer. A sweet and vivacious Christian woman. The third of nine siblings. Age: 24.

That was when her mother, Colleen, began journaling her way through their journey down a long road leading into heavy mist–often waylaid by uncertainty, bewilderment, or heartache, and sometimes surprised by joy.

Originally in the form of a blog (“Tracing His Goodness” is still active), the posts were recently gathered and self-published by Colleen’s niece in a portable collection (200 pages) by the same title and available virtually at cost (about $5) from

There are no chapters. Only dates. Each entry is brief (2 pages), practical, poignant, hopeful, insightful, and readable. There are a few people whose writing makes me think, “I really wish I could write like that!” Colleen is one of them.

She traces God’s goodness through her daughter’s chemo, double mastectomy, improvement, relapse, final fight, and home-going at the age of 25. That’s the first half. The rest traces God’s ongoing goodness through the aftermath, picking up the broken pieces of life and treasuring God more through them.

Bookstores are stuffed with fluffy, frothy, feel-good devotional and self-help books. This is no collection of smarmy truisms and sappy platitudes. It is an intensely personal journal of a woman who knows how to climb through the dark clouds of a parental nightmare to find God by speaking truth to her soul. And doing it honestly, compellingly, scripturally. And beautifully.

This recommendation is not a favor to a friend (though she is; her family has been at my church for four decades). It is an earnest and warm recommendation of a book that stands squarely on its own merit and deserves a wide reading.

If you are a woman, you need to read this. If you are a man, you need to read this. Whether you are in the midst of a life-storm, or trying to recover your spiritual footing in the aftermath, you need to read this. If you think you see a cloud the size of a man’s hand looming in the distance, or even if life is flowing along swimmingly without a cloud in your sky, you need to read this.

It is theology intersecting and impacting real life. It will feed your soul. And you, too, will want to share it with others.

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