How Christ Offers to Heal Our Hearts and Homes
by James L. Ferrell
One of my goals for the new year (2019) is to read a
“helpful” book each month and write a review on it for you! I have read this book before, but it has been a few years. We just moved into our new home in December, and as I was unpacking a box of books, I rediscovered this gem. I couldn’t really have told you at that time what the book’s main idea was, even though I had read it before. Sad. I did, however, remember thinking how amazing it was, so I decided to make it my January read. Boy, am I glad I did! It has struck me to my core again! It is such an amazing eye-opener!
James L. Ferrell gives us a new way to look at our own hearts.
He also gives us a new perspective on our relationships with our Savior, our spouses, and our children, as well as all of our relationships, in all aspects of our lives.
The storyline follows the vision-like experiences of Rick, a guy whose marriage is in turmoil. He blames his spouse for all of his negative energy and feelings toward her. One night, Rick’s grandfather comes to him in a dream/vision to teach him how to look into his own heart. Along the way, Rick is very stubborn and defensive of his position and determined to place all the
blame for his woes on his spouse. He simply cannot understand how any of their problems can be his doing.
Rick’s grandfather takes him on a couple of journeys to teach him some important lessons. The first is to the desert outside of Carmel, where David is on his way to battle Nabal, who had wronged him and his men. On the road to Carmel, Abigail, Nabal’s wife, intercepts David and his men with a peace offering, pleading with David to let Nabal’s sins be upon her own head and for David to not let the injustice done to him turn his heart toward sin.
Rick learns a very powerful lesson about the atonement and how Abigail is a type for Jesus Christ and his atonement. Jesus offers us peace and restitution in place of those who have wronged us, just as Abigail offered restitution to David for Nabal’s sin. In essence, Christ has already paid for the sins of others against us. When we do not forgive, we hold it against Christ, not the sinner, because Christ has already taken that sin upon himself. The sin has already been paid for, and when we cannot let go in forgiveness, we do not punish he who sinned against us, but ourselves, by becoming bitter and hateful.
A hard heart is a sin. Rick can see the point, but still struggles to see how any of his problems can be fixed by knowing this.
The second journey Rick’s grandfather takes him on is to a ship in the middle of a terrible tempest. The ship is about to be dashed to pieces by the waves as the captain and crew try to place blame on someone for bringing the anger of the Gods upon them. They discover Noah on the ship and the decision is made to toss him overboard. The tempest ceases and Noah is
swallowed by the great fish. As we know, Noah was called by the Lord to go and preach repentance to Ninevah, a people who just happened to be Noah’s people’s enemies. Noah fled and tried to hide from God on the ship. After the great fish spat him out, Noah obeyed and went to Ninevah. He preached repentance to the people there, telling them that if they did not repent within a certain amount of days, God would destroy them. Then Noah went up on a hillside and sat and waited, looking forward to watching the Lord destroy his enemies.
Lo and behold, the people of Ninevah did repent! Noah was sorely disappointed! He wanted to see his enemies destroyed! How unfair, that they actually repented and God forgave them! He sat and sulked in the hot sun. How unfair that God would forgive them, too! Noah didn’t even realize that he was the one that needed to repent because he was so focused on the sins of his enemies. Hard hearts are so easy to recognize in our enemies, but difficult to recognize in ourselves.
Rick goes through a few more experiences with his
grandfather, his wife and his children. It takes him quite some time to realize that he has any power over the outcome of his situation, but when he finally does, his whole world changes for the better.
I just really love this book and, yes, I cried a bit as the deeper meanings and new understandings touched my own heart. This is a true game-changer of a book. I love it so much and highly, highly recommend it to EVERYONE! You will not be
disappointed, but instead uplifted, motivated and healed in the inmost corners of your heart.
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