Passport Through Darkness

In college, I studied til 2 AM most nights…but now I don’t think I’ve read past midnight in years.  So when a father of four like me stays up reading til 1:30 AM, you’ve got to guess the book was nearly impossible to put down.   It was.

I had the chance to spend some time on the phone a couple months back with Kimberly Smith, who leads Alliance member Make Way Partners.  I was struck by her wisdom, forged in hardship and frontline experiences in some of the toughest places on earth.  I also admired her thirst to grow not just her own ministry, but the entire Christian orphan care movement in its every expression.  That day, I ordered her book, Passport through Darkness.  Christian bookstores are full of hyperbolic titles, so I wasn’t sure how much this book would align with its foreboding label.  It did.

Passport began at a moderate pace, exploring familiar-yet-still-highly-significant themes:  dissatisfaction with the “good life”; yearning for the “life to the full” Jesus offered; desire to pursue God wherever He led yet fearing what that may mean.  Christian bookstores, again, have no shortage of volumes that wade around the shoreline of these issues.  At first, I wondered if this book would, too.  Would Kimberly just slip her toes into the bracing waters and then write a book about it…or would she dive?  She dove.

The consequences of Kimberly’s big choice and countless other choices that have followed kept me up long after I finally finished the book at 1:30 AM.   Brutal.  Joyful.  Ugly.   Comic.  Tragic.  Redemptive.  Heart-crushing and heart-lifting.  It all lingers with me still, full of desire…my own fears, too…and an indubitable sense that the way of Christ is both more costly and more to be sought than anything else on earth.  Like a priceless pearl or treasure buried in a field.  It really is.

Far more could be said about Passport Through Darkness than would fit in a readable blog post.  The story you’ll have to read for yourself.  But one final thought.  What I valued most about the book is the raw honesty—transparency, authenticity—with which Kimberly wrote.  Those are buzzwords today.  But so few Christians, especially those in leadership, really share with the kind of vulnerability that the Psalmists wrote or in the way Jesus exposed himself to his disciples in the garden or on the cross.  Kimberly did.

And I won’t soon forget it.