Wednesday, March 6, 2013

So Shines the Night by Tracy L. Higley

So Shines the Night is a masterful interweaving of a beautiful story of finding a life of meaning in God along with seeing the apostle Paul come to life before your very eyes. The intimacy with which we are given this inside look with Paul is amazing and breathtaking. I was astounded at just how powerful he must have seemed to those living in the darkness that then saw the light of God, His grace, and a reason for living. My heart is so full that I am not sure where to begin relaying how I feel.

This story really brought this time of history alive before my eyes, and I cherished every minute of it. I felt that I myself was walking down the very roads of Ephesus, and I so longed to see the beauty of it with the unforgettable and touching characters of this story. I was immersed in the lavishness of that culture, and it swept me off my feet.

There was something so pure and long ago lost from the followers of the Way. How Christians of today could learn from their love, their enthusiasm, and their hospitality. We have sadly seen the fervency of their love, their unwavering devotion, and their single-minded purpose get garbled, watered down, and twisted into the “religiosity” that we see so prevalent today. No wonder people are turned off by the Christianity that see around them. The purity of how it started out is not what is broadcasted to them, and this is to our great detriment as much as to theirs. How we need to go back to our first and only true love! Only then will the kingdom of God become what she was always meant to be.

This story focused on two broken people fighting for the same thing, a second chance at a life of happiness, security, and fulfillment. Daria and Lucas’s chance meeting proved to be a turning point for both of them that started a rebuilding of their lives individually and as a couple. While they both desperately searched for the truth they needed, they each took very different paths in this journey. While Lucas’s path proved to be the deadlier of the two, Daria’s path revealed God’s strength through her that helped her and Lucas both find the freedom, truth, and love that they so desperately longed for.

This was my first foray into the genre of Biblical fiction, and I was far from disappointed. All of the elements that I have come to enjoy in a good story – the mystery, the suspense, the longing for truth and learning, and the sharpening of my mind - was all very much present in So Shines the Night. I am eager now to continue my journey into this genre to see what other treasures are out there to enjoy and learn from.

Tracy Higley is an author that stands out as one who is meticulous, thoughtful, and a force to be reckoned with. Her touch throughout this story is one of tenderness, humility, and awe at the marvelous works of our magnificent God and Father. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. She wraps the mystery, the love, and the grace of our God throughout this story so much so that it feels as if you are enveloped in His arms as are you reading it.

While this story brought an immense amount of hope to my heart, I am saddened by the continued parallels that are drawn to our own time today. Some things have not changed and others have morphed into various forms to try and hide what they truly are. The shroud of deception has been gradually and gladly by some pulled over the eyes of those around us, and that makes our job that much harder and dangerous. Let us cling to the one true God, and through us He will work His wonders.

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