Wednesday, February 22, 2012
An Emotional Journey - Not in the Heart by Chris Fabry/5 Stars
I imagine most folks know a "Truman" in their circle of friends. Me? Yeah, I have one, too, and he struggles with an addiction that only God can heal at this point. It's difficult to watch someone I love succumb to fleshly desires, and sometimes I can't help but wonder, "If only..." "If only he hadn't made this decision," "If only he hadn't met this person," "If only he hadn't gone down this road," yada, yada, yada... But when I feel overwhelmed with those questions, I can do nothing but lay my concerns at the foot of the cross, and pray for his deliverance.
I guess in some way it was easy for me to identify with Ellen, Truman's wife, as well. She had been let down so many times over the years because of Truman's actions, decisions, and absence in their family. After awhile, it became human nature to think that nothing would ever change. But somehow, she concocted a plan with the wife of a death-row inmate to lure Truman back into her heart and life, and more importantly, back to their son who was struggling to hold on just a few more days for a heart transplant that could save his life.
I also connected on a small level with Terrell who was on death row for murder, yet still maintained his innocence. Before he landed in jail, he was nothing more than a no-good drunk and beggar, trying to bum a dollar from any Tom, Dick, or Harry that had it to spare. But once he got to jail, he found the Lord, and before too long, the death sentence that he was facing in 30 short days meant that he was that much closer to seeing Jesus face to face.
Now, some may think that a jail conversion is just a ploy for some inmates to butter up their family members or friends, but truly, many of them are genuine. While I was reading this book, it was on my calendar to re-certify as a volunteer at a local prison. Once a year, some of the inmates get together and host a banquet for all the volunteers that have taken time to come and minister to them at the prison. During the banquet, several of them stood and shared their testimonies of how they were on the wrong path when they got there. One guy in particular shared his story of being in a gang, and when he got to jail, he didn't want to have anything to do with some fellow inmates that were trying to witness to him. But they, as well as a couple of the chaplains, kept working on him, and before too long, he gave his life to the Lord. Now, he's a completely changed person. When new inmates come in, some of them that he knows personally from his old life, he continues the cycle by being a witness to them. He makes it a priority to go to the chapel services that are held throughout the week, mostly run by volunteers, so he can continue to learn more about God. That was just one of many testimonies shared, and it's so encouraging to know that a difference is being made in the hearts of so many, most of whom society has ignored and forgotten. It made Terrell's story believable, and while I've never personally met someone on death row, I could identify with his honesty and sincerity as he shared his story with Truman.
Once again, Chris has found a way to create such a unique story that is bound to penetrate the hearts of several readers. I can attest that it has penetrated mine. And there's something for everyone here, too...a little drama, a little mystery, a little sadness, and even a touch of humor that I never expected. So, if you're already a fan of Chris Fabry, then I have no doubt that you'll enjoy his latest. It's already earned it's place on my keeper shelf. :o)
Southern? Set in Florida, but not what I would consider a Southern novel.
Summary of Not in the Heart:
Truman Wiley used to report news stories from around the world, but now the most troubling headlines are his own. He's out of work, out of touch with his family, out of his home. But nothing dogs him more than his son's failing heart.
With mounting hospital bills and Truman's penchant for gambling his savings, the situation seems hopeless...until his estranged wife throws him a lifeline--the chance to write the story of a death row inmate, a man convicted of murder who wants to donate his heart to Truman's son.
As the execution clock ticks down, Truman uncovers disturbing evidence that points to a different killer. For his on to live, must an innocent man die? Truman's investigation draws him down a path that will change his life, his family, and the destinies of two men forever.
**Many thanks to B&B Media Group for providing a copy for review.