This is one of those books that you pick up thinking you will get a heart warming story all neatly tied up. However, this story is one that resonates in the human spirit in such a way that it is sure to make a deep impact on you - leaving you contemplating the redemptive love of Christ.
Truman Wiley is a conflicted, sarcastic, deeply troubled man that is plagued with an addictive past that has held him bondage and has ultimately led to the loss of things he once held dear. This hard-nosed reporter who had once been on the mountain top of success now lived hiding from creditors and other more dangerous and notorious men. His love of the casino has wreaked havoc on his life. I could not help while reading this man's story to contemplate the truth of the scripture 1 Corinthians 6:12 (...All things are permissible for me but I will not be mastered by anything.) for this man truly has become mastered by many things. This very fact has locked him into a pessimistic outlook on life.
Truman is living an existence of sadness and remorse covered by a hard shell of sarcasm. His daughter has little or nothing to do with him. His wife has walked away after years of trying to pull him through his addictive behaviors and pessimistic attitude. His son lays dying of a congenital heart defect in a nearby hospital. His life is a perfect picture of defeat and despair. It is difficult to feel too much sympathy for him as it is the human nature to look on the outside of a man and say "You made your bed" or "just change". However, to truly understand one must realize the power of the enemy over people in bondage. Though the door of freedom is set open before them - they must take the first step. What we see in Truman is a man defeated by his past mistakes, unable to forgive himself for his failures as a man, father, husband, friend, reporter her avoids all responsibility. Unable to accept his son's illness or the fact that he is powerless in correcting it he avoids it - somehow - I believe attributing his own failures and sins to the illness of his son and bearing this responsibility deeply in his heart.
When his ex-wife calls with a proposal for him Truman agrees. He will cover a story of a convicted death row felon. He will put into print this man's story and how he is giving his heart upon execution to Truman's son who has suffered from a deadly heart defect since birth. Little does he know that God has set into motion a plan to "call heaven and earth as a witness against [Truman], that He has set before him blessings and cursing" and is asking him to "choose life, that [he] and [his] children may live" (Duet. 30:19). This story will offer the road of redemption that Truman has long sought after but been too afraid to walk.
Truman quickly discovers that this is no simple story to right. What do you do when the man on death row - tried, convicted and sentenced by the court of law - is really innocent? What more do you do when that man's desire is not to prove his innocence but to speak a more powerful truth of love, forgiveness and redemption through Christ? For Truman the least likely of people is about to show him the greatest character of all - forgiveness. This man that has lived on death row for so many years is about to start Truman out on the pathway of self-discovery where man comes face to face with who he truly is in the presence of a righteous God. There in that place he is faced with the ultimate question - will he step through the door of the prison he has lived so long in and accept the freedom he has been given? Will he take this chance to redeem that which was lost through the power of Christ's forgiveness?
I can honestly say I appreciate the author's portrayal of Truman. In most of the book he is completely unlikeable in a way that is so real to life. In fact the reader can probably think of someone very much like Truman. In this aspect of failing, falling, stumbling blindly, pushing away angrily, grasping at hope eagerly, praying earnestly, and begging for forgiveness - one can easily fall into the story. The reader can relate personally to the tight ropes of bondage, the heavy burden of self-conviction.
This journey opens into something that changes the lives of everyone involved and God's redemptive love ultimately shines through. Each of us has been in bondage - albeit to varying degrees - and each of us has sought the road to redemption. This book explores how difficult this road can be at times but ultimately how rewarding it is in the end.
Many would venture to say that they do not know any person with an addiction. However, I would challenge each person to look beyond the addiction of gambling presented here, or drugs and alcohol. There are so many more things that people can be addicted to or driven by - that one thing they can not let go of. In the ministry I have seen the devastating effects of many kinds of addictions. Though the truth of freedom is set before their eyes it seems that letting go of the addiction is overwhelming - the fear that they have strayed too far to come back. This story is excellent. Be blessed reading it.
Thank you for this beautifully written story. Praying that it touches many lives and that those in deep bondages of addiction find that the truth of Christ will set you free.
Thanks to B&B Communications for this review copy.