Christians don’t get a free ride in life. They face the same problems, dangers and pain as non-Christians. William Sirls tackles the oft-asked question of “Why?” head on in his novel, “The Reason.”
When a small Michigan town faces the issue of why bad things happen to good people, no one will ever be the same. From a lightning-split cross on a church lawn to a child with leukemia, a blind pastor with a disabled son and medical personnel who doubt the existence of God, the cast of “The Reason” brings an Everyman dimension to a powerful story of an encounter with the Divine.
Single mom Brooke knows her five-year-old son hasn’t been well lately. She’s worried and afraid of what the cause might be. Her support system consists of Pastor Jim Lindy, a diabetic who has lost his vision due to complications of his disease, his wife Shirley and their son, Charlie – a thirty-eight year old giant with the mind of a child. They’ve taken Brook and Alex into their lives as family.
The staff at East Shore Community Hospital faces life-and-death struggles every day. Faith in science rules their world rather than faith in a Creator. Besides personality conflicts and patient crises, they have to put up with an expansion project that sometimes interferes with the workings of the hospital.
The gang down at The Pilot Inn, the local watering hole, suffers its own problems. Abusive drunks, suicidal alcoholics and a tough economy all bring different issues to the table.
And into these troubled waters comes a carpenter, one of the crew working on the hospital. He volunteers to help mend the shattered cross in front of the little church, assisting some of the hospital staff. As lives intersect and faith is tested, the reader sees people stripped of their facades and revealed for who they really are. Some revelations come as pleasant surprises; others are shocks.
Sirls has created a tough little community, one that must deal with more than just the rugged Lake Erie weather. Can they come together to overcome the problems that beset them or will they, like the church’s cross, be shattered by the blows that strike them? He takes a long, deep look into the questions so often asked of believers and comes back with answers poured from the heart.
The relationships within the story develop strong ties, although not all of them seem good ties at the time. Each person fights inner demons and old scars as they try to get through another day. Sirls put together a potent mix of issues and attitudes and the resulting dish serves up perspectives on the big “Why?” that readers might not have considered.
The plot contains some romance elements along with the family dynamics and faith issues. Readers won’t get a sermon, but will experience a story told with heart.
The well-written story will encourage believers and explain to unbelievers how Christians can keep going in the face of an imperfect world. The high entertainment value ensures that anyone who picks it up will keep going. Readers can count on heroes to cheer for, villains to boo and a deeper understanding of what we believe when they read “The Reason.”
Disclaimer: This review is based on a review copy provided by the author or publisher with no restrictions as to content. All opinions are my own.
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