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Room of Marvels: A Novel

Room of Marvels: A Novel

4.9 14
by James Bryan Smith

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In one tragic blow after another, accomplished Christian writer Tim Hudson lost his mother, his close friend, and his two-year-old daughter. Now he’s on the brink of losing his faith.

Room of Marvels takes readers on a silent spiritual retreat with Tim where he is swept up in a dream vision of heaven and given a guided tour by those he has lost.


In one tragic blow after another, accomplished Christian writer Tim Hudson lost his mother, his close friend, and his two-year-old daughter. Now he’s on the brink of losing his faith.

Room of Marvels takes readers on a silent spiritual retreat with Tim where he is swept up in a dream vision of heaven and given a guided tour by those he has lost. Reminiscent of the C. S. Lewis classic, The Great Divorce, the book carries a contemporary voice that made Library Journal declare it “a good companion to Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven.”

Remarkably, Room of Marvels mirrors author James Bryan Smith’s own heart-wrenching season of loss when his mother (Wanda), close friend (“Awesome God” singer Rich Mullins), and two-year-old daughter (Madeline) passed away within months of each other.

Updated with a new cover design and epilogue by Smith, the 2007 edition of Room of Marvels will continue to comfort those touched by grief and stir the hunger for heaven in every reader.


“A delightful fantasy.” —Cecil Murphey, coauthor, 90 Minutes in Heaven

“If you’ve ever felt the sting of death from the loss of one you love, Smith’s book will lead you into a warm, inviting room.” —Knight Ridder

“One of those profound, special books that only comes along once in awhile.” —InfuzeMag.com

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B&H Publishing Group
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2 MB

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Meet the Author

James Bryan Smith teaches theology at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas. His previous books include A Spiritual Formation Workbook, Devotional Classics (coauthored with Richard Foster), and Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven. Jim and his wife, Meghan, have two children, Jacob and Hope.

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Room of Marvels 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read this book and sent it to many after loosing their loved ones.  It gave great healing to many.  Beautifully written to heal broken hearts. Blessing to James Smith and his family for sharing his talents.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this story 3 times! Outstanding view of grief, healing and finding ones way back to faith. I have purchased copies of this book and given them to people in my circle after the loss of their loved one and had very positive feedback. They have also "payed the books forward" to others. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For those filled with fear and doubt, like me, this book is a game changer!
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Once in a while you find a really great novel to read. One that changes your perspective on how you view this life, but the way we walk through it. Then there is the aspect of just what happens when we die. Do we see our loved ones again? How can we possibly grasp the wonders of what awaits us in heaven one day? How do we cope with the grief and loss of a loved one while we have to walk the rest of the journey through this life without them? I think James Bryant Smith did an exceptional job at not only explaining the concepts of what Heaven may in fact look like, but more important explaining why despite all our faithful acts of kindness here on Earth and our prayers, that sometimes God takes people from us anyway. Doesn't seem like a caring God after all does it? In the novel, Room of Marvels, Tim Hudson, a well known author of Christian Living books, is a man who is struggling to find purpose in life and a reason to keep his faith in God after the multiple losses of first his only daughter, his best friend and then his mother. These all happened over the course of a couple years and even though Tim still has his wife and son, he struggles with coping with these losses. Despite all the good things he believes he has done, he still wonders how God can take people like his daughter when she had only yet to begin her life. How some days it's a miracle just for him to take a breath. How will he ever be able to move forward in his grief and retain what little faith in God remains. Tim checks in to St. Stephans Episcopal Monastery for five days in attempt to find some answers to deal with his loss. When he meets with his assigned spiritual director, Brother Taylor during his stay he finds the questions he asks him about his purpose for coming to the monastery a bit challenging. He wants to know what is going on with Tim's relationship with God, and it brings to the surface the anger Tim is feeling about God taking away his loved ones before their time. Tim tells Brother Taylor that despite the fact he writes books telling people how good God, how they should turn their lives over to God, how merciful, just and fair God is, he doesn't believe it anymore. The advice that Brother Taylor shares with Tim probes deep into the places of his heart and cause him to rethink his losses. He advises him to search his heart and spend some time in silence and wait for God to share some insights into his question of faith. When Tim heads back to his room and before he falls asleep, he asks God to speak to Him, to send him an angel, and then as he sleeps he dreams of being transported to a place on a train. Tim's dream takes him to Heaven where he sees what impact his life has had on the people he interacted with during the time he has been on Earth. He gets an opportunity to renew his faith by learning things from his childhood and even seeing how his life impacted people he had never met. The most impactful lesson I took away from Tim's encounter was dealing with our loss of those we love. As Tim is talking with Jack and is struggling with the deaths of his loved one and his anger at God, and Jack tells him, "the pain you are feeling is the pain of loss. Your heart is crying out to have them back. This may sound harsh, but think about this Tim, because it is part of our healing. What sort of friend or father or child would you be if you thought so much about your affliction and so much less about their happiness? When we cry, 'Come back,' it is all for our own sake. We never stop to consider whether their return, if it were possible, would be good for them. We want them back in order to restore our happiness. But in truth, we could not wish for anything worse for them. Having once gone through death, to come back and then, at some later date, have their dying to do all over again." Tim realized that a large part of his grief was really selfish. He wanted them to come back, to walk through the door and resume their lives, to let him have just one more day with them. He realized that his desire was for his own happiness and not theirs. I received this book through my own purchase because I love books like The Five People You Meet in Heaven or Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. This is the perfect book for someone who has recently experienced a loss and is struggling with their grief and in moving forward in dealing with life without them. I found even though I have experienced a loss, it wasn't like the loss of someone I was close to. This book for me, gave me a different perspective on the impacts we make in the lives of people by the smallest thing we do. It teaches us that we can't earn our way into God's grace and mercy by the things we do or struggle to live a perfect life. This is truly a life changing book for those times in your life when you question if there is something more to the life you're living. It's inspirational, its a healing balm to a grieving and hurting heart and one I can see talking about and rereading many times as I need a solid pick me up in my own walk of faith. I would rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and would high recommend that EVERYONE read this one! It really will change your life!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After my father died, this book was recommended to me. I am so glad I read it. Instead of grieving his death I started to celebrate his life. What a great place this has been because dad was in it! This book is a must read for anyone suffering the loss of a loved one. As I see others going through what I did I offer this book as a gift.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read this book following a death. It was fantastic! I give now to friends and family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most wonderful books I've ever read. It is very helpful when trying to work though personal grief. We have requested that it be added to our church library, as I'm sure it will be. Thank you for letting us all feel we got to spend a little time in heaven. I pray it's really like that - with a room of marvels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very reader friendly. I don't read much but finished the book at work during breaks in 3 days. Anyone who seeks answers as to the loss of a loved one, this book is a must.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read. I finished it and immediately started reading it again. I hope and pray that Heaven will be like this! WONDERFUL! It truly helped me deal with my Mother's death and finally let her go. Thank you Mr. Smith! I have given 8 copies away so far and am buying more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jim Smith is such an awesome person. After reading this book I felt so inspired. I encourage everyone to read this book.