Book Review: When Tomorrow Never Comes …

This book is a “wake-up” call for many of us. Having (thankfully) received his wake-up call to meander no more, David Sivapatham decides to call up others to ready themselves early for Heaven while on this pilgrimage on earth which is “a journey of faith in search of wholeness.”

Apr 16, 2014

By Lucille Dass
This book is a “wake-up” call for many of us. Having (thankfully) received his wake-up call to meander no more, David Sivapatham decides to call up others to ready themselves early for Heaven while on this pilgrimage on earth which is “a journey of faith in search of wholeness.” Why get ready early? Well, … clearly, the title speaks for itself; also, David unceasingly reminds us that Christian faith is about “investing” in a long-term personal relationship with God; it is not a “fast-track” leap of faith as may be imagined. David postulates that if we can spend so much time to prepare for a good life on earth, then why not prepare as well for heavenly life especially when we know that our preparatory stage can be “tragically cut short” any time! Morbid reality… yes, but even “God is ALWAYS ‘warring’ on our side” and takes no pleasure in our death ( Ezekial 18:32 NJB).

The book, written with a zealous spirit, is in three parts: Part One — The Three Gardens; Part Two — The Way, Truth & The Life; Part Three — Faithfully Responding to His Call. The three parts even out nicely into twelve chapters. There is a Preface and an Epilogue and then… An Afterthought, too. The content is supported by scriptural quotes in their entirety for easy referencing and contextual connectivity. There is both a balance and juxtaposition of parallel and opposite situations, concepts and perspectives that relate to life. The three parts draw from and reinforce their counterparts to produce a rich Bible based life-account which David himself says we should leave behind as a ‘legacy’ of good words and deeds for others to draw “strength and inspiration from.” That is exactly what he has done — given us much to ponder about how best to live the WORD.

Since metaphors and analogies abound in the Bible, David makes interesting use of the garden metaphor as a holistic concept and the battle analogy as an aspectual concept to put across the spiritual conflict and divine resolution that sprout in the gardens. The three gardens and the battles unfolding therein are analogous to the different stages of our own spiritual warfare. We need pruning, probing/digging and watering to finally flourish (Isa 5: 6-7). While the gardens reveal the rawness of nature, they are equally cultivated in beauty and love. That love encases the mystery of Jesus’ passion, struggle and resulting victory.

As a point of interest, Dr Thorsten Grahn of Regent University says the garden “is an ideal image for an organization which follows the servant leadership concept as this concept is unique in its focus on the growth of the individuals in the organization. So, if the church is seen as an organisation then servant leadership is its spiritual branding as benchmarked by Jesus.

The book carries nuggets of wise sayings at the beginning of each chapter and a spread of scriptural and life-related quotes add to the finish of each page. Each chapter ends with Points for Reflection — both challenging and comforting at the same time. There are also anecdotal entries that readers may relate to.

Clearly, having come out of a crisis (which he chooses not to define, but one may perhaps divine) the writer is keenly reaching out to tell us that it is not enough just to “encounter” Jesus but we must also “enter” into Jesus’ life and feel with Him and for Him the way He “…enters into our 'frame' of life and suffers” on our account. David reminds us how easy it is to lip-confess being a Christian than it is to live it out in a relationship through our hearts because that is where we battle daily between good and evil (2 Timothy 3:5a NJB).

I have left unmentioned the location of the gardens so that you may have the joy of reading and discovering them. Find out why the third garden might have slipped your mind (if it has!). Read also to find out about the six ‘When’ questions we will be asked in the ‘Final Exams’ on Judgement Day! The writer says, “The good news is that we have a whole lifetime to prepare. The bad news is that we cannot “re-sit” this exam and the consequence of failure is eternal punishment.” Frightening? Yes! But another piece of good news is that “there has been a ‘major leak’ of all the six questions …” So … what are you waiting for?

In this context it is apt to conclude with a quote from St Augustin of Hippo:

“As Christians our task is to make daily progress toward God. Our pilgrimage on earth is a school in which God is the only teacher, and it demands good students, not ones who play truant. In this school we learn something every day. We learn something from the commandments, something from examples, and something from sacraments. These things are remedies for our wounds and materials for study.”

The writer has provided us with ample examples and materials to value our sacramental life.

- - When Tomorrow Never Comes … by David Sivapatham is sold at RM25.00. All profits go towards Immaculate Conception Church in Penang and charities.

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