A Palestinian story of hope and resilience in Bethlehem

Tim Costello reviews Yet in the Dark Streets Shining by Bishara Awad & Mercy Aiken, a little-known story of Palestinian Christians through the heartbreaking but inspiring account of a boy who grew up to be a spiritual and community leader in Bethlehem.

Bishara Awad is a good, loving and godly man. His qualities shine through like a beacon in this autobiographical story of how he and his family face what many would see as insurmountable obstacles growing up in the Palestinian Territories.

With all that we have been seeing on our screens since the brutal Hamas attacks of 7 October 2023, Bishara’s story makes the situation personal. Humanising those in distant lands is crucial if we are to understand their plight. To read what Bishara and his family have experienced takes you deep into what life has been like for our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ for the past 75 years and how it is now.

A deeply personal account of what life is like for Palestinians.

Written as a first-person account, this book reads like a fast-paced novel. Bishara and his co-author Mercy Aiken have woven together the historical, political and personal. Bishara begins by describing growing up and experiencing traumatic events such as the Nakba, which means “catastrophe” in Arabic, and refers to the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the wake of the forming of the State of Israel in 1948.

A good storyteller will draw the reader into their life’s sights, smells and experiences. This is exactly what Bishara does, with eloquent descriptions of sunny days with loving family and friends interspersed with dramatic and distressing descriptions of the difficulties his family faced when he was a young child.

Throughout this moving story, Bishara’s faith is shown to be strong and resilient.

Particularly distressing is the story of the death of Bishara’s father, who was shot down by an Israeli sniper while innocently going about his business. Bishara describes the disbelief he felt in the wake of this loss, as well as his mother’s incredible perseverance, faith and love as she was left to raise the family.

Throughout this moving story, Bishara’s faith is shown to be strong and resilient. A gentle soul, he can also be outspoken when he needs to be, but always in a way that is winsome and relational. He also describes clear “God moments” when things that others might call coincidences happen consistently. A major example is the beginnings of the Bethlehem Bible College, which he founded and for which he had a distinct sense of call.

Yet in the Dark Streets ShiningThe Awad family is well known in Palestinian Christian circles. Bishara is just one who has lived a life of faithfulness and Christian servanthood. If you’re looking for a deeply personal account of what life is like for Palestinians, Yet in the Dark Streets Shining is a beautifully written and rock-solid account of a life well-lived.

 Tim Costello AO is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity.

Related Reading

Related stories from around the web

Eternity News is not responsible for the content on other websites