“Wouldn’t it be great,” I said to my children one morning after reading them a Bible story in which Christ healed a man who couldn’t walk, “if we read in the newspaper that Jesus was coming to Bath and we could bring Ruth to Him?”
How many times had I prayed for her healing? Sometimes laying hands on her and shouting out loud. Sometimes quietly pleading as she lay crumpled in her crib. Yet, God didn’t heal Ruth—not here. Cerebral palsy confined my youngest daughter to a wheelchair and robbed her of the ability to speak.
It would’ve been so much easier, I often thought, if we could have carried her to Christ. One touch. One word. And I knew He could have made her well. So, it was with genuine interest that I opened Michael Morris’ newly released novel, “Man in the Blue Moon” (Tyndale House), in which Lanier, a drifter with healing powers, appears in a Florida town during World War I just before the deadly flu pandemic.
What I discovered was an honest, thought provoking look at what might happen if someone not seeking money or fame showed up with an authentic gift of healing. How far would you drive to see such a man? Or would you, like many of the townspeople in Morris’ book, drive him away?
Single mother Ella Wallace wrestles with these questions and more as she struggles to hold her family together and protect her land from a ruthless banker, Clive. Even after Lanier heals Ella’s son, she wonders whether to trust him. One thing is certain, however, this mysterious stranger gives Ella the determination to win.
“Listen, Neva,” Ella confides to a friend after townspeople begin questioning Lanier’s motives. “I can’t explain all this… can’t begin to. But that man showed up here when I was on this side of a nervous breakdown… about to lose my son, my home. When everybody else offered pity, he pushed me. Because of him I still have a home. I might be fighting a never-ending battle with Clive, but because of that man, I’m fighting just the same.”
Morris gives women a reason to cheer. His hero doesn’t show up with biceps blazing to save the damsel in distress. He comes alongside the damsel, pays attention to her needs, and humbly offers to help. The result is a superbly written, thought provoking tale that takes readers on a journey back to the days of steamships and healing waters, celebrity preachers and charlatans, small town gossips and heart-felt faith.
My only disappointment was not having the leisure to sneak off and enjoy reading it in bed with a box of chocolate-covered caramels from the Bath Sweet Shoppe. Even without chocolate, Morris’ finely crafted text weaves a story sure to interest both male and female readers. If you’re not a follower, “Man in the Blue Moon” is a great reason to start reading Christian fiction.
This month I will give away whichever book gets the most posts on this web site! So, stay tuned. Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book to review.
So, what about you? Do you believe in healing? Or have you ever wished a healer would show up in your town?