Water's EdgeWater's Edge
Robert Whitlow
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Excerpt


Sometimes the smallest towns hold the biggest secrets.

Ambitious young attorney Tom Crane is about to become a partner in a big-city law firm. One final matter has to be cleared from his docket--the closing of his deceased father's law practice in the small town of Bethel. Killed in a tragic boating accident, John Crane didn't leave his son anything except the hassle of a bankrupt estate.

Then, within twenty-four hours, Tom loses his job, his girlfriend, and his cat. Job didn't have it much worse.

Returning to Bethel with his pride ground to powder, Tom's plan to quietly shut down his father's practice and slink out of town runs into an unexpected roadblock - two million dollars of unclaimed money stashed in a secret bank account. Tom follows the money into a tangled web of lies, theft, and off-shore financial transactions manipulated by powerful men who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.
     


 

 Water's Edge Discussion Questions: Robert Whitlow


 

1. After Tom loses his job and his girlfriend at the beginning of the book, Elias responds to Tom with, “God is good.” What did you think of Tom’s response? Have you ever experienced a huge, unexpected change in your life, and someone spoke similar words to you? How did that make you feel? Encouraged? Angry? Confused?

 

 

2. Though for years Tom held himself back from truly grieving his mother’s death, upon returning home, he is overcome with emotion while visiting Austin’s Pond. Why do you think Tom held those tears back for so long? How did his mother’s death forever affect Tom and his father’s relationship? Have you ever stored up grieving and then had it triggered by an unrelated incident?

 

 

3. Why do you think Elias wanted Tom to read the Bible story of Balaam and his donkey?

 

 

4. Elias points out that Tom’s first name is Joshua, which means “God rescues” or “Jehovah is salvation.” How does the meaning of Tom’s name enter into his story?

 

 

5. Many people in Bethel urge Tom to stay and continue his father’s work. What do you think Tom believes about the kind of man his father was? About the kind of attorney he was? Do you think he considers himself a chip off the old block?

 

 

6. Elias is a man of prayer and intercession. Have you ever known someone who was a prayer warrior? How has his or her intercession affected your life and the lives of others?

 

 

7. Psalm 78:72 says, “So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.” Why do you think this was one of John Crane’s favorite verses? How did reading this verse open Tom’s eyes and heart?

 

 

8. Rose is convinced that there are “thin places” in this world—physical places where one can better hear from God. Do you believe in thin places? Have you ever experienced a thin place?

 

 

9. Do you agree with Elias that Christians can sometimes have “divided hearts”—that they can know the love of God, yet still live with dark secrets and deceptions? Elias says that “people are like houses. Most of the rooms may be filled with light, but there can still be a dark corner.” Which characters fit this description? Have you experienced this duality in your own heart? Do we sometimes compartmentalize our lives so that we can legitimize our vices?

 

 

10. Have you, like Tom, ever felt that you were caught in a situation where you weren’t sure who, if anyone, you could trust? What did you do? Where did you turn?

 

 


11. After his arrest, Tom’s world crashes down on him, and he feels that he has nowhere to turn. He doesn’t trust that God can resolve his situation, and he is ready to take his own life. How can desperation skew our perceptions of our situations? How does God step in and assure Tom that he is present and in control?

 

 

12. What do you think about the verse John Crane wrote down after his wife’s death: “The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death” (Isaiah 57:1–2). Have you lost someone important in your world? How does this verse affect the way you feel about his or her passing?

 

 

13. At his baptism Tom looks around at his friends and supporters and says, “I’m learning that God placed me in this world, not so other people can serve me, but so I can serve them. Only when we focus our attention on others can we become who we’re intended to be ourselves.” What value do you place on community? Do you serve, and allow yourself to be served by, others who care about you?

 


 

14. In the Epilogue, Tom claims the verse Jeremiah 6:16: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” How does the wisdom of this verse affect Tom’s decisions about moving forward with his life? Are you at a crossroads in your life? How does this verse speak to you?

 

 


 

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