It sounds like the perfect ingredients for a fictional novel, but this is actually the true story of how Craig and Médine Keener met each other and eventually got married. PCPJ got an exclusive interview with one of the authors of the forthcoming book Impossible Love.
Craig Keener and Médine Moussounga Keener found each other through a campus ministry and developed a deep friendship. This would be tested in a way few wish to experience. Torn apart by the civil war in Congo-Brazzaville, Craig didn’t know if Médine was alive or dead for eighteen months. He writes in an email correspondence to PCPJ:
“There was no friend I had corresponded with as much over the years as Médine. I was always happy to receive her letters, but the last one threw me into panic: She announced that she didn’t know if she was going to live or die, because troops were closing in on her city.”
The horrors Médine and her family was going through were unimaginable.
“Her cousin was shot dead on Christmas Eve; her father and brother had barely escaped being shot. Although she didn’t mention it, she and her mother and sisters didn’t know how they could flee because her father was disabled and they had no way to carry him. But by the time Médine’s letter reached me, her city lay in shambles.”
In the midst of this darkness, God manifested his presence in miraculous ways according to the Keeners. In their forthcoming book Impossible Love (Chosen Books, April 2016) they give several examples of this.
“One of the early miracle stories in the book, though mentioned in passing for the sake of space, is one that we have often shared in other connections. That was when a prophetically-gifted friend of the family prayed over Médine’s sister, who, so far as anyone could tell, hadn’t breathed for about three hours (and thus was, again so far as anyone could tell, quite thoroughly dead). The sister immediately began breathing again, and was fine by the next day,” Craig Keener writes.
Miracles is something that he has had much interest in on an academic level, being the author of Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts. Consisting of over a 1,000 pages, Dr. Keener thoroughly defends the Pentecostal-charismatic belief in the existence of miracles as both historical and contemporary events. He shares with us that for this book he had even more testimonies to tell, some of which didn’t end up in the volume:
“We couldn’t tell all the miracles in the book. You know that I often write long books; for this one I had to cut 45 percent of this manuscript to get it down to the size that most people like to read! But there are still miracles there, and even more God’s providential leading, fulfilled prophecies, and so forth.”
Missionary Rolland Baker, co-founder of Iris Global, writes in his endorsement for Impossible Love: “This story gripped my heart as few books have, and lifted me higher in Jesus than ever.” Those who know about Rolland recognize that if he’s been lifted higher in Jesus than ever, that is indeed a very high altitude! Craig Keener comments:
“I respect Rolland and Heidi so much. Some of the other endorsers shared similar reactions. I think the book moves people because it’s not just our story. Although He’s often working behind the scenes, the Lord is clearly the book’s real hero. We are weak and fallible people, and the book chronicles many of our experiences of brokenness. But the faithfulness of the Lord through it all is a faithfulness that we can all look back and see in our lives.”
Craig’s hope is that even though many couples don’t share the Keeners’ dramatic life journey, they can still learn something about God’s faithfulness.
“I know that most of us have interesting journeys, especially if we’ve served the Lord for a long time. But whatever the Lord has done in our life, every one of us has a story, and for each of us it is part of God’s bigger story. If we know Jesus Christ, God Himself lives in our hearts and we’ll be with Him forever. He works in our lives in different ways, but it’s that ultimate experience that makes us His people and brothers and sisters to one another.”