In the wake of the Amish school shooting on October 02, 2006, Marie Roberts Monville was left to answer for her husband’s act of hatred and cruelty. While many of the world could have easily looked in and judged her, God was surrounding her with a wall of love, grace, and healing. One Light Still Shines by Marie Monville is her testimony of God’s perfect leading through the darkest times of her life and of God’s perfect redemption and restoration. It is a wonderful read for every believer and non-believer because we all face tragedies that test our faith, and God desires for us to be victorious in every circumstance.
At the start of the story, the events seemed to move slow, but I am sure that was in part on purpose. It basically starts with the morning of the shooting, and I am sure the first few days were a long, drawn out haze of memories and horrors, which is conveyed well by the slower pace. You automatically sympathize with Marie as she takes you through her thoughts, prayers, and tears. Eventually, the pace picked up, I just got sucked in to the story of God’s beautiful redemption in her life despite what would seem as the worst circumstances.
One of the key lessons of One Light Still Shines was one I had learned the hard way as well. No matter what the circumstances we face, we cannot let it rob us of our worship to God. Part of telling the testimony was understanding how God worked in Marie and Charlie’s life after they lost their first child in stillbirth. In that time she writes this:
“Worship me, Marie,” [God’s] Word called to me. “Just worship.” At first it was hard to worship through pain, but slowly I began to come, sit, and worship from my place of broken dreams, my place of doubt and despair. Sometimes I sang out loud, sometimes I sat quietly, focusing my heart on recounting his goodness and allowing it to spill over with gratitude, despite my grief. The voice that “spoke” within me provided guidance in the fertile ground of my surrender, and I felt a new heart-connection with my God like I had never known.
When we are going through rough times, not even as rough as Marie had it, we need to remember to worship and thank God in every circumstance. It brings us closer to God and gives us the intimate, heart-connection we need to survive day-to-day. It could be something as horrible as losing a loved one or losing a job, healing from surgery in agonizing pain to healing from a bad break-up. No matter how horrible life gets, we have to remember to worship, seek God, and thank God.
Another soundbite of truth that she shares was found later in the book when she says, “God had been teaching me to love the wilderness almost as much as I loved the mountaintop.” In life, we go through highs and lows, and we are to love life in all circumstances. It doesn’t mean we have to love what is happening; we don’t have to love that someone died, hurt us or that we lost our job, but we have to love life and look for God’s way of bringing peace and joy in those circumstances. When we allow God to open our eyes to the good that remains around us, He is able to do something spectacular and miraculous. After all this tragedy, Marie’s 7-year-old daughter profoundly said, “God had done so much good that it makes the bad stuff not seem so bad.” Wow! Think on that for a second!
The problem today is that so many times we face a tragedy and instead of looking to God, worshiping through it, and allowing him to open our eyes to His light around us, we look into the darkness. Of course the dark seems dark when that is what you focus on. In every circumstance, no matter how bleak, there is, as Marie says it, “one light that still shines.” God’s light, the light of His strength, love, and mercy. And if we focus on that light, the darkness will not be able to contain it. Light is the only way to dispel darkness, so also God is the only way to not be consumed by dark tragedy.
Ultimately I give this a 4.5 star rating! An excellent and encouraging read! You can check it out for yourself here.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.