Friday, April 5, 2019

Mercy at Midnight - Second Personal Favorite Novel for 2018 by Sylvia Bambola!

Jonathan Holmes barely stirred when the old grandfather clock chimed. But it did bring him earthbound enough to smell the musty Parthia wool rug, feel his head soaked with perspiration, feel a tingle in his right hand where his head had been resting. 
My soul pants for you, Lord, just as the deer pants for water. 

He tried to continue praying, tried to rise heavenward again, but couldn’t, so he just remained sprawled on the floor. You know I want to do Your will. He rolled onto his left side and began exercising his hand. But I don’t understand, Lord. Why change things now? When Your Spirit is beginning to stir the congregation? When the numbness in his hand turned to pins and needles, Jonathan pulled himself to his knees, then lingered a moment in hope of hearing an answer. There was none.
“‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path,’” he whispered the familiar verse, a verse he had felt the Lord tattoo on his heart more than once.
“Pastor Holmes? You in there?” The voice and the impatient knocking brought Jonathan to his feet. He unlocked his office door without bothering to put on his shoes, which were taken off in anticipation of being on “holy ground." 
“My . . . if you aren’t the prayingest pastor I’ve ever known! ‘Course I haven’t known that many. After all, Pastor Sorensen was here twenty-five years. But if I tried, I could come up with a few names, and none of them, as far as I can remember, ever spent as much time in prayer as you.” 
Jonathan grinned at the church secretary and noticed that her gray, steel-wool-like hair smelled freshly permed. “Nice hairdo, Gertie.”
Jonathan Holmes stood in back of the sanctuary listening to the choir. “‘All to Jesus I surrender.’” His heart soared. Oh, the tender persistence of God. 
“I give up, Lord. I surrender,” Jonathan whispered. What else could he do? He had been wrestling with the Master for two weeks. 
But even as he stood there, Jonathan felt a tiny pocket of resistance, a little Alamo raising its battle flag. He tried to identify it. Ambition? He didn’t think so. Pride? No . . . well . . . it could be. Hadn’t he felt a bit of pride over being chosen to pastor this prestigious old church...

Mercy at Midnight

By Sylvia Bambola

I've read many Christian novels in my life, but, for me, I have never been more certain that this book was inspired by God. Tears flowed, joy embraced, and each page walked through a perfect plan that is revelatory of what God could be doing in each of our lives, without our knowing it...

Of course, a good writer can create a wonderful plot, placing each character where they should be, but this book flowed supernaturally through each event, so perfectly presented that the reader actually feels God's spirit at work in the story of three main characters: A Pastor, A Reporter, and a Homeless Man. Each of the other characters are also so important to the overall effect of the story that even the villains are obviously evil as soon as we meet them... well, maybe not because, after all, this is a suspense thriller/mystery and Bambola does an excellent job in keeping us guessing right to the very end...

Sometimes, the power of the message is so much more important than the plot, don't you think? At least it was for me.

Jonathan Holmes had given his life to Christ in his very early years and now found himself as pastor of the largest church in the area... But, he wasn't yet satisfied. His constant prayers were for a revival and he spent hours in prayer, seeking God guidance to allow him to bring that about... Though, he found that he was frustrated because the pastor of the church was required to handle too many administrative duties that pulled him away from His God.

But God had other plans...plans for Jonathan's future that was so different, so, actually, alien, that he began to doubt God's direction.  But, finally, Jonathan resigned and became willing to follow where he was led...

Cynthia Wells was a reporter--a great reporter who had led the way to major situations in her area being covered...But she had a strange habit--perhaps led by God?--she was obsessed with reading obituaries... and perhaps from a secret from her childhood that she'd never gotten over, had nightmares, was being placed directly in the location of the man she had once wronged... She didn't even know God, and especially, didn't think she could be forgiven...
There was no point in rehashing the past. Somehow she had to find a way to let it go. Still, even now she couldn’t stop thinking about how easy her life had been compared to his. And how much her selfishness, her weakness had cost him. What was a person to do, with a secret like hers? Was there no remedy? No forgiveness? Was she doomed to have nightmares the rest of her life? Or was there really mercy at midnight?
From that she had noticed that there were a number of homeless that had been found, a former leader of a homeless shelter mission had been killed, supposedly in an accident. Cynthia had tried to learn more, but people in the area wouldn't talk to her, a reporter.

She talked her boss into allowing her to go a homeless person. She knew that a "Turtle" and a "Manny" were now dead and discovered that a friend of theirs, Stubby was being followed. Those who had killed the other two thought he might know where whatever had been stolen was. But Stubby had not been involved. Turtle had sought help from Stubby, but he had turned him away, not able to offer anything but a little money. Shortly after Turtle had been killed...
But what was Stubby supposed to do? Hadn’t he warned Turtle? And Manny, too? But the thing was done and couldn’t be undone. He was no miracle worker. He wasn’t God. What did Turtle want from him anyway? But even as Stubby lay curled in a ball, he knew he’d try to come up with a plan. Turtle was the best friend he had—now the only friend since Manny ended up in the dumpster. Slowly, Stubby rolled off the bed and onto his knees. He knew he was a jerk for doing it. What was the use? He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, trailing a smudge of dirt and tears. It was clear what the Almighty thought of him. God had wasted no time in trashing Stubby’s prayers for Manny. Put them right in the garbage where they belonged. But he thought it mean of God to place Manny right alongside them... and take notice of poor, old Stubby White. Maybe this time, Stubby’s prayers would be answered. And if God didn’t answer? Stubby shook his head. He didn’t know how much longer he could hang on. Maybe he’d just give up and stop trying altogether. He balled his hands into fists even though it brought a fresh wave of pain. He had to get this right. It might be the last chance he had of getting it right. He closed his eyes and dropped his head against his chest. “Please God, I can’t go on like this no more. I’m a mess. My life’s a mess. I got nothin’ to keep me goin’. If you don’t help me, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. Please, God, You just gotta help me and . . . Turtle.”
Jonathan was not thrilled to be told by God that he was to reopen a mission for the homeless. Not only was it in an area of town where he had never been, but he found it hard to consider loving all those that would be coming to that mission... and there were many... Thankfully, he had been guided to a woman who had worked in the mission before it had been closed. Miss Emily is a delight--one of those rare individuals who glow with God's love and you can't help but recognize her faith and the love of God for all. In many ways, she was the glue that would hold together all of the work to be provided to Jonathan's new congregation. And a whole lot of prayer! From his old church and all that cared about the neighborhood and the homeless... Businesses started contributing anything needed, food, clothing, home supplies...all to come in routinely

And each of these individuals--Jonathan, Cynthia and Stubby wound up at the Mission...placed in danger as a local gang, a hitman, and the pressure and needs of the homeless came down upon each...

But what each of them found was what Mercy did for each of them...

It's been a long time since I've attended a revival--perhaps the last one was with the Billy Graham organization... 

Jonathan wanted to bring an old, dead church to revival (and it did come, right after he left) But, the revival that was brought about by Jonathan's acceptance of his command to go to that Mission, now hallowed, protected ground for God... Ah... Now that was a Revival! At least for me!

Somewhere I read that Sylvia Bambola writes books on separate issues... However, after reading this book, I implore Ms. Bambola to write at least one book or a series, using these characters at the Mission... I've been blessed and I believe God can use the Mission in the future, don't you? This is a time like no other in America...chaos, hate, prejudice...and the homeless and hurting surround us... How will God help?

In the meantime, please consider and share this review as one of the most inspirational books that I highly recommend!


And...One thing Remains

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