Since I was a little girl I have been enamored by stories. My best memories involve books: being read to by my mom who also loved stories, waiting beside the roadside for the book mobile to stop, reading Alice in Wonderland while buried under the covers when my mom didn’t know how to work the thermostat our first day in our first home with central air conditioning, and making it through those dreaded camping trips with the help of a stack of books. As an adult I discovered Christian fiction, stories that enlighten as well as entertain. I have always believed that God has a way of putting the right book in my hand at the right time. At times it is a book that has been on my shelf for years, and at others it is a book recently acquired. Some books are like the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin (Luke Chapter 15), with a fairly easy theme to recognize. Others cause me to ponder at a deeper level and seek God’s wisdom, like the disciples in Luke Chapter 8, asking the meaning of the story. Others spark a longing to dig deeper into God’s Word looking for truth. A Rose for Jonathan is just such a book.
I belong to a closed Facebook group where Christian authors link up with reviewers. I saw a post from Beth Green; while her book looked interesting, it was the fact that she was located in Baker, Florida that caught my attention. I messaged her and asked to be considered for receiving a copy of the book to review, and asked whether or not she knew relatives that had lived in Baker. As it turned out she and her husband were vacationing there, but I believe God used this to place Beth’s book in my hand.
As I am reading a book for review, I’m always thinking about wording my review. As I got into A Rose for Jonathan, I was considering connecting with fans of Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker and maybe Randy Alcorn as the story is occurring in the earthly and spiritual planes. I was thinking about incorporating the underlying theme of the importance of organ donation. Then I was increasingly convicted that I was reading this book not as a way to promote Christian fiction, but because I needed a wakeup call in my prayer life. When I first retired I felt God’s call to spend significant amounts of time in prayer, and to pray utilizing Scripture. He gave me tools to assist me in this, one of the greatest being the book Prayers That Avail Much from Word Ministries, Inc. Over time I allowed a new kind of business to enter my life, and my prayer life changed. I continued to pray quite often, but my prayers lacked the intensity that they’d had early in my retirement, and they included less Scripture. To be honest they were less effectual, but as all things that happen gradually, it went unnoticed. That is until God, through Beth Green, gave me A Rose for Jonathan.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that we struggle against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. He instructs us in verses 13 through 17 to put on the full armor of God. Beth Green points out that some of the armor is defensive in nature: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation. Our offensive weapons are the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God and prayer. Paul reminds us in verse 18 to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests, and that with this in mind to be alert and to always keep on praying for all the saints.
I most highly recommend A Rose for Jonathan. The story of Pastor John, his wife Lindsey, his daughter Rosie, and all those whose lives they touch will grip your heart. Indeed fans of Peretti, Dekker and Alcorn will be blessed to meet a storyteller who is their equal. Who knows, there may be a reason that God is bringing this book to your attention at this time, or it may simply be your time to enjoy a great read. Either way, I couldn’t recommend a better book.Thank you to Beth Green for providing this book for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.