Book Review: ‘Kiss the Wave’

“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” — Charles Spurgeon

Dave Furman knows firsthand what it’s like to kiss the wave of suffering that dashes him against the Rock of Ages; in this book, he teaches us how. 

As you read through the first few pages, Furman reveals where the inspiration for the title of this book comes from. Charles Spurgeon, a man whose life was characterized by both service and trial once said of suffering, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” What a beautiful picture. Unexpected and unwanted trials in our lives will crash us about, to and fro against the rocky shoreline. We will weep, wail, and gasp for air, but to our surprise, the rock on which our trials cast us is Christ. 

Like a friend who puts an arm around a bereaved comrade, in this concise work, Dave puts his arm around us to encourage and comfort us with personal stories, biblical exposition, systematic theology, and practical application. Perhaps the most impressive piece of this book is how well balanced it is, wedding the practical and theoretical with artistic mastery. As you read, each chapter transitions seamlessly from an intimate personal story to biblical exposition to systematic theology to practical application. The personal stories make this book a riveting read for non or new Christians alike. The exposition and theological insight give this book depth and sustenance.

One particular story that colors each page is Dave’s ongoing struggle with chronic pain, he writes with striking vulnerability; 

“Then, in one moment, everything fell apart. . . . I felt a sharp burning in both of my arms. I instantly lost all strength. Tears flooded my face—the soreness was back. Not only had my pain returned, but it was worse than before. I lost all dexterity in my hands and developed boil-like wounds on my fingers. I couldn’t stand to touch anything. I was on high-dosage medications for my nerve pain and for anxiety and depression. At one point, when I ran out of the depression medication and could not refill it in our new country, I felt like I was losing my mind. I paced up and down the length of our bedroom most nights as I yelled at myself and to myself. I tried reading Christian books, but none of them performed the magic trick of emotional transformation I hoped for. We watched all nine seasons of a celebrated sitcom in an attempts to cheer up, but it was all to no avail. I wanted to die.” (16)

From this posture of vulnerability and personal reflection, Dave walks with us through our trials. Along the way, he shows us how the gospel, resurrection, adoption, prayer, election, eternal security, sanctification, and the local church all play a significant role in our lives as Christians. In Kiss the Wave, Dave Furman gives us a practical, theologically rich teaching for Christian suffering. I recommend this book for people on the spectrum from non-believer to mature Christian. It will no doubt benefit you and others who are going through difficult times.