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A river of gratitude

Review of "A Burning in My Bones" by Winn Collier

Author and friend of Eugene and Jan Peterson, Winn Collier offers readers a spiritually astute, deeply human portrait of the couple, their children, and their ministry. Joys, sorrows, regrets, failures, and victories are presented through the lens of God’s grace and his redemptive work in the lives of his people. Collier writes, “Eugene would insist that his entire life, even the failures, even the treacherous places, was lived under the mercy of God, led by his strong and generous hand. This was most evident with those dearest to him. From his boyhood home, he received immense grace, even as, over the years, he also had to work through pain. And with Jan and Karen and Eric and Leif, though he’d reflect on his regrets (the things he’d missed, the fatherly work he’d left undone), he still felt, more than anything else, a river of gratitude.”

As Peterson matured as a pastor and a writer, Collier points out, his “most profound wrestling, however, was for his soul to be authentically surrendered to God, for his outward persona to be congruent with his interior.” In fact, his son had joked that Eugene had one sermon: “Congruence.” However, congruence was not easy to attain. Though Peterson lived a remarkably disciplined life, he continued to struggle with an “old nemesis,” his evening practice of drinking alcohol. And during a short period in his marriage, he and Jan experienced intense marital problems.

A Burning in My Bones is an authentic and moving portrait of a man whose “longing for God ignited a ferocity in his soul.” But, more than that, it is a tribute to God, Lord of heaven and earth, who calls his children to worship him with their total being and leads and guides their lives for his glory.

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