My most succinct review and my highest praise would be one and the same for Laurie Coombs' book: "Letters from my Father's Murderer" is a picture of the Gospel in action.
We could speak at length about justice and mercy and redemption and forgiveness, and it would be fascinating conversation. The ways of God are always worth meditating upon. Yet what happens when you desperately want to walk in God's ways, and your world has been ripped apart by your father's murder?
Laurie Coombs and her family found themselves living the life behind that horrible headline. Once the trial ended, and "justice" was done, their beloved Dad was gone, their questions were still unanswered.
Laurie was a relatively new Christian, in a young marriage, and a mom of small children, and she'd never felt worse. Her health was falling apart, her mind was fogged, her spirit was continually troubled. She begged God to give her peace and soundness of mind again, but she felt only fears, anxieties, grief, and bitterness. (Exactly what you would expect to feel, mere years after burying your Dad!)
Laurie knew one thing- God was not content to leave her in a pit of bitterness.
The power of Christ inside her could surely make something good and beautiful out of all of this.
In the wake of such harm, Laurie dared to believe God for healing.
And thus begins this true story. If you had the chance to write letters to your father's murderer, what would you say? What would you want from him? What if your deepest desire was to see the Gospel in all of this.... even if it meant letting God lead you through the unknown and the painful?
And as if the story of a Laurie forgiving her father's murderer isn't enough, this isn't only Laurie's journey. God had never given up on the man she was forgiving. The grace found in Christ is strong enough, and His love is wide enough, for murderers as well as for "the rest of us."
Could you call your father's murderer your brother in Christ?
"Scripture was being played out in my life's story, and I just couldn't seem to get over the beauty of what God was doing right before my eyes. The thought of God using me to help bring forgiveness and healing to the very one who had harmed me was a beautiful thing. I saw it as a picture of the Gospel itself." ~Laurie Coombs, on her relationship with the man who murdered her father.
I thank Laurie and Tony for sharing their story, Kregel for publishing it, and Litfuse Publicity for providing me with a copy.