Wondering why Alice…?

choir-featuredHi Katie,

I am contacting you with a question about something I read in one of your books.

First of all, thank you for your books, they are very engaging. I enjoyed reading The Choir Immortal, especially (as an LCMS member and choir member) your inclusion of relevant Scripture references!

On page 190, two characters have a conversation about faith and its testing. When Rebecca asks her mother, “God will never give us more than we can handle, right?” Alice replies, “…God never promises such a thing.”

I read the conversation a few times and then looked up one of my favorite Bible verses in 1 Corinthians 10:13 where Paul writes, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

As a fellow Christian, I have always taken great comfort in this and am wondering why Alice does not share this with her daughter?


Dear Carla,

First of all, thank you for your kind regards. I am blessed beyond measure that you read my books, let alone find them engaging. I pray that they will continue to be a source of encouragement for you as you turn their pages.

Second, what a thoughtful question!

If it helps, here is why I did not have Alice reference 1 Corinthians 10:13 when talking with her daughter about the burdens of illness and suffering:

Notice that the Apostle Paul, in this verse, is speaking particularly about God’s promise to give us a way out of every temptation. That is a promise to give us a way out of sinning, not suffering, and suffering is what Alice is specifically addressing on page 190 of The Choir Immortal.

If God never gave us more than we can handle, then we would never die. The mortification of our flesh is, literally, our being given more than we can handle. We cannot keep ourselves alive, and we cannot raise ourselves from the dead. So, we trust in Christ to handle the matter for us. We trust in His promise to raise us from the dead on the Last Day.

Alice knows this, and so, rather than encouraging Rebecca to put her faith in the work of her own (Doomed to fail!) hands, she encourages her daughter to put her trust in the sure and certain work of Christ’s hands — His pierced flesh, mortified for her salvation and risen for her justification.

Jesus tells us that we will have tribulation in this world (John 16:33), but we are to take heart — not because we can handle what the world gives us, but because Jesus has overcome the world. Thanks be to God!

In hindsight, I do wish that Alice had referenced one of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians during that conversation with Rebecca, but it is the second epistle that perfectly applies to their (and our) plight:

“[W]e were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

May God give us faith which trusts in His promises!

Yours in Christ,


#WearTheRooster, Round Five

review |rəˈvyo͞o| verb [with object]

1 examine or assess (something) formally 

write a critical appraisal of (a book, play, movie, etc.) for publication in a newspaper or magazine 

survey or evaluate (a subject or past events)


If you want to be the next one to #WearTheRooster, you will need to write and publish a review of House of Living Stones and/or The Choir Immortal on one or more of the following platforms:

Concordia Publishing House’s website:



If you have already written and published a review on one of these sites, never fear. Your already-published reviews still count as submissions. However, if you want to up your chances of winning, write a completely new review and publish it on a different site. Multiple entries (of different material) will be considered, as well.

What’s the criteria for winning? Simply, please the author’s parents. That’s right, Bob and Cindy Roley will be choosing their favorite reviews–one for each book–on behalf of their daughter. I happen to know that one of them is highly influenced by humor, the other by sincerity.

Happy reviewing, and be sure to post your “critical appraisals” by Friday, May 19th!



Join My Launch Team!

Did you enjoy reading House of Living Stones? Were you ready to pack your bags and move to Bradbury after turning the last page of The Choir Immortal? Are you chomping at the bit to get an early peek at The Harvest Raise? Then, I want you on my launch team!

What’s a launch team?

It’s a posse of pleasant people who hang out with me online and help spread the word about the upcoming June 13th release of The Harvest Raise.

What does a launch team member do?

He or she reads an electronic advance review copy of The Harvest Raise, hangs out with me in a closed Facebook group, and spends the next couple of months getting family, friends, church members, hairdressers, librarians, book club besties, and people standing in line at Aldi excited about the conclusion of the Anthems of Zion series.

unnamedWhat does a launch team member get?

I’m so glad you asked. On top of receiving the electronic advance review copy of The Harvest Raise and admittance to the closed Facebook group, a launch team member also gets a limited edition rooster T-shirt, a map of Bradbury, a signed copy of The Harvest Raise, and…wait for it…a fowl towel.


Alright, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Individuals who like roosters and tractors and parsonages and pies. (Baking experience is not mandatory, but it is most welcome.)
  • fullsizeoutput_56acMen and women who look good in the colors yellow, green, and/or gray.
  • Bookworms who have already read and reviewed House of Living Stones and The Choir Immortal. (Reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, public blogs, and cph.org all count.)
  • Active members of book clubs.
  • Social people who have an engaging presence on Facebook as well as maintain a Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Snapchat account. The more social media networks the merrier, and if you also write for a blog–you just might #WearTheRooster.

If this criteria applies to you, then please apply your criteria here.

And finally, my dear Bradburians: I wish everyone could serve on this launch team, but there are a limited number of spots available for this particular task. If you do not get chosen by the team, I’m looking forward to hanging out with you on the pages of The Harvest Raise come June 13th.

Thank you for your help!