When Heaven Weeps takes us back a generation to the mid 1960s when the Reebok-clad grandmother who prayed for Kent in Heaven’s Wager was a crack-whore who captured the heart of a Serbian solider who had been through a life-altering experience while fighting in Yugoslavia.
The story begins by flashing between the Serb—Jan Jovic—and his experience in the war and his resulting success in America after writing a book about it called The Dance of the Dead. While dealing with his success, he meets Helen in what seems to be a chance encounter and in his efforts to help her escape her life of drugs, controlled by the sleazy Glenn Lutz finds himself falling in love with her.
A la Hosea, Jan becomes the picture of a God who loves the unlovable and though a monster of his past may haunt them, ultimately wins the heart of his beloved. All of this is, of course, to the chagrin of the church officials, who decry the fact that Jan would associate with someone like Helen. Along the way, Jan discovers something about himself, something that he’d miss in the experience of his past that will affect how he views the future and how he understands the concept of sacrificial love.
In the preface to The Heaven Trilogy, a 3-in-1 re-release that includes Heaven’s Wager and Thunder of Heaven, Dekker remarks that many readers—even those who aren’t fans of any of his other books—find When Heaven Weeps their favorite. In truth, I have to consider it Dekker’s best by far. His use of imagery, poetic dialogue, and strong character development develop a theme of God’s unfailing love around a plot that you literally cannot tear yourselves away from. Dekker has written several great novels since, and I’m sure will write even more, but this is still his masterpiece.
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