Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Hope in Hope Harbor

“At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant." - Job 14: 7-9



A Bible verse on hope.  Not a typical one you'd read in Psalms or Proverbs or Matthew.  This one is in Job - where struggles are constant.  Well, isn't that the point of hope?  It's among adversity when a person needs hope or want to hope.  In Irene Hannon's "Hope Harbor", we follow the story of several characters that needs hope and coincidentally comes to or stay in Hope Harbor, hoping to find that meaning.  Both Tracy and Michael lives with guilt in their love ones' death, while Ann Williams, the town's self-imposed hermit struggles with regret for the twenty plus years.  Will these three be able to overcome their own issues, seek hope in God, and find solace in a new life?


I truly enjoyed this book.  Ms. Hannon gave us a vivid setting of a coastal town (fictitious as it may be - actually a combination of several coastal towns in Oregon state).  She also gave us a realistic plot that we can all relate to. The themes of coincidences and hope beyond regrets hits home to many, if not just myself.  I've never been one to believe in coincidences, especially if it's more than one.  Coincidences and what we call fate is God's way of making His presence known, which Ms. Hannon has shown us throughout this story.  Coincidences are blessings in disguise.  They are blessings that may not be what you expect, or may or may not be known right away, but in time it will reveal itself. Ms. Hannon says "Trying to understand his (God's) ways is an exercise in futiliy.  All we can do is our best and then trust that whatever happens, he's present and in charge." (p112).  And with that note, we see how these characters comes to terms with their own regrets, find hope in trials and let God take over. 

Maybe another time, I'll share my story of God's blessings in coincidences. So back to the book.  "Hope Harbor" is a simple read, because it feels so real - like you see the plots happening all around us. Maybe the setting is different, but you will understand it on a personal level.  As to the characters, Michael is a good person. A person that you want to be friends with and want to pray for when you see he's in distress.  His interactions with Ann is one I find most interesting.  Every interaction, you just want to keep reading and find out why she is the town recluse, and why she is special in the story.  With Michael and Tracy, you'll want to find out why they are both carrying a sense of guilt and regret and even if it's not what you expect, you respect these two.  Of course, there's also Charley - an angel of some sort (figuratively speaking) that you wonder if there's someone like that in your life that you missed. 

"Hope Harbor" is a story of finding hope and living God's words without judgement of others, but with compassion and faith.  This novel, to some may be a simple story, but to others, they may find meaning and everyone who reads this novel will be inspired someway or another. In closing, I want to share the lyrics of a song this novel reminds of.

Laura Story's "Blessings"   
We pray for blessings 
We pray for peace 
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep 
We pray for healing, for prosperity 
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering 
All the while, You hear each spoken need 
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things 

(Chorus)
'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops 
What if Your healing comes through tears 
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near 
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise 

We pray for wisdom 
Your voice to hear 
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near 
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love 
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough 
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea 
And long that we'd have faith to believe 

Chorus

When friends betray us 
When darkness seems to win 
We know the pain reminds this heart 
That this is not, this is not our home 

Chorus

What if my greatest disappointments 
Or the aching of this life 
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy 
What if trials of this life 
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights 
Are your mercies in disguise

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group for an honest review.


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