Falling Night by Phil Clarke

To Shake Us Up

Falling Night by Phil Clarke is a powerful and horrifying Christian novel set in the 1990’s. It is a fictional account but grounded in fact as it is based on the author’s experiences in Africa during the 1990’s.

Bored of life in sleepy Yorkshire, lead character Alan, volunteers to help in the fictional war-torn country of Kugombwala. We follow him as he encounters some very different experiences.

The country is unstable and corrupt. Aid workers need to be very aware of their surroundings. They meet some good souls along the way but also encounter pure evil.

Under Phil Clarke’s masterful pen, the hot landscape, fear and corruption come alive. We see terrible scenes of genocide, child soldiers and pure evil along the way as civil war erupts. Local tribes think nothing of massacring their neighbours. Life is not sacred but cheap.

Alan is naïve at first. We see his character development and understanding of the situation as the novel progresses.

We also witness Alan becoming a Christian.  Too many ‘coincidences’ happen until Alan has an epiphany “God had turned His face towards him.”

We see the power of prayer. God always hears our desperate pleas. “Lord, deliver us from evil, he prayed.” There are times in Africa when Alan senses the presence of evil. Life is more than we can see. Life is a spiritual battle between the forces of good and evil.

As Alan grows in his faith, he makes the following observations. “We called ourselves Christians … upstanding church goers whose response to knowing God was to seek His blessing rather than be His obedient servants.” Sometimes we are comfortable Christians but God wants to shake us up. We should be uncomfortable Christians, getting angry and upset over what angers and upsets God. God doesn’t call us to be armchair Christians. He wants us to help right the wrongs and to listen to His call to ‘go’ or to ‘stay.’

God calls us to specific tasks that only we can do. “Why had God chosen him, Alan the unsuitable … to do this particular task?” God does not call the equipped but He equips the called.  We are reminded that, like Esther, we are called for such a time as this.

There are some discussions within the book as to why God does not step in and stop evil – but then people would not have free choice. We are reminded that everyone is a child of God and He loves us. This is powerfully put by: “It is only the Holy Spirit Who is here grieving – not only over the suffering … but also in sadness over what the killers have done… God loves them too.”

Falling Night was not a pleasant read but a powerful and necessary one. It should shake us up and make us feel uncomfortable. I can highly recommend it.

I received a free copy from the author. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.


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