At the Author's Table: C.D. Baker

How this author's failures led him to deeper grace

The author of a historical fiction series, C.D. Baker is currently completing a master's degree in theology. He never set out to write a devotional. So where did 101 Cups of Water (Waterbrook) come from? "Over the years I'd worked through issues such as the power of weakness and the nature of grace, things I was desperate for," Baker says. "I gathered those lifelines of grace into this book." The result is a candid look at dashed hopes and haunting doubts coupled with reminders of God's infinite mercy.

Why do some books by "experts" fail to resonate with struggling Christians?

In England there's a saying, "Mind the gap," which is that little space between the subway and the platform. In Christianity, there's a gap between what should be and what is. Most experts don't talk about failures. They say, "Do better. Try harder. Here are 10 steps." But nobody's there to help when you say, "I know what I should do, but I can't. I'm not in rebellion; I'm trying. But I'm a flawed human." Their emphasis has been on what should be and not on what is. I'm trying to offer hope in the middle of what is.

You've been quoted as saying your failures led you to deeper grace. How?

I'd been living the American dream—beautiful family, financial prosperity, active in church. But I fell into sin, and it resulted in divorce. I had to accept that I wasn't competent in anything I'd valued—as a Christian, a husband, a father. I was a mess. Then someone told me, "David, do you understand that if you get a divorce, God's still going to love you?" That was shocking to me. He loves me that much? And it's not related to my performance? My weaknesses became a source of life for me.

You're very vulnerable in this book.

When you come face to face with who you really are, you can be free. You don't have to guard your reputation anymore because your reputation isn't important, only Christ's is. When Jesus talks about turning the other cheek, there's a lot more to it. There's a blessing in no longer protecting yourself.

What have you learned about your character?

I've become more aware of my apathy, doubts, disinterest. Imagine two lines that start at a common point and go away from each other. One is awareness of myself, the other awareness of God. The further you follow their trajectory, the wider the space between them. But the cross bridges that gap, and the greater the distance, the larger the cross becomes. If I focus only on the gap, I can get discouraged. So what's the answer? It's not to try harder. It's to focus on the cross and how much bigger it just became. Then the widening gap actually becomes a blessing.

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May 25

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