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There’s not one single answer to what it looks like to live a life of faith. These 17 people each lived out an extraordinary story in a uniquely different way, and a simple faith was at the heart of each one.
I received a complimentary book and was compensated for my time in writing this review. As always, all opinions are my own.
What makes someone a hero of the faith? Just the phrase is intimidating, if you ask me. But as with most things in life, a change of perspective can make all the difference. I’ve been reading about the lives of 17 individuals who did some amazing things and instead of feeling intimidated, I’m inspired.
The book is Eternity through the Rearview Mirror: How Simple Faith Changes Everything—Seventeen Extraordinary Lives, and I’m anxious to tell you about it.
Christian Role Models
As a parent, I want my kids to have positive role models to inspire them to live boldly for God. In fact, when they were young, this was something I prayed for often.
As a homeschooler, this book is a priceless tool to help provide that. The chapters each read like a short story, totally non-threatening for kids who may get overwhelmed at novels. And because the individuals featured hail from a variety of eras, they make for perfect additions to history lessons as well.
Who are the seventeen people in Eternity Through the Rearview Mirror?
Galileo Galilei—J. S. Bach—John Newton—Elizabeth Fry—Sojourner Truth—Abraham Lincoln—Harriet Beecher Stowe—Harriet Tubman—George Washington Carver—Amy Carmichael—Mary McLeod Bethune—Aimee Semple McPherson—Corrie ten Boom— C. S. Lewis—Gladys Aylward—Louie Zamperini—Johnny Cash
Let me tell you about two individuals that stood out to me–and give you a glimpse of the feel of the book at the same time. You’re gonna love it!
Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845)
All of the chapters in the book are written in first person, and each has a unique feel. ‘Elizabeth’ tells us,
The pivotal year of my life, however, was 1813. Looking back, it was the smallest thing that changed the entire course of my life. I simply accepted an invitation…to visit the women inside Newgate Prison.
Elizabeth noticed alarming circumstances inside the prison, and went on over the course of the rest of her life to create change in the women’s prison system.
Both Queen Charlotte and Queen Victoria became interested in Elizabeth’s work, and she was given personal audience to talk with them about the ills of the women’s prisons.
She testified before Parliament and helped to create laws that allowed for women (instead of men) to be in charge of female inmates, separated inmates who had committed minor offenses from hardened criminals, provided a sufficient diet and fresh water, and instruction in employment skills and religious training.
All because on that fateful day in 1813 she accepted an invitation to visit the prison.
What a lesson for young people (for all of us) to learn. Sometimes seemingly small things can spark incredible change. Keeping our eyes and hearts open for this could make all the difference.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ -Matthew 25:35-36
Johnny Cash (1932-2003)
Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.
I have to say, this chapter surprised me. I knew that Johnny Cash had sung some gospel tunes, but that was the extent of my knowledge about his spiritual life. Color me wowed.
Johnny Cash once described himself as “the biggest sinner of them all.” Even barely knowing anything about the man, I could see that. Many of his sins were played out on a very public stage: drugs, alcohol, adultery, divorce. He would stay clean for years at a time. But as is the nature of addictions, his life was a bit of a roller coaster.
In the midst of all of this, Johnny’s childhood faith remained a constant.
He loved singing at the Billy Graham Crusades, wrote songs for the hopeless and downtrodden (because he could relate to them), studied theology, recorded four gospel albums, and created The Gospel Road – a movie about the life of Jesus.
This quote from Eternity Through the Rearview Mirror sums up Johnny’s attitude well,
All I know is that without God’s grace I’d have been one sorry son of a gun. He blessed me in spite of my sin. Did I ever feel bad about all the bad things I’d done? Of course, but I forgave myself. When God forgave me, I figured I better do it too.
I’ve not been quiet about the fact that I’m a big fan of grace. Johnny’s story of sin in the spotlight resonated with me and I’ll be honest, that quote above makes me tear up a little every time I read it.
It seems that up to his dying day, Johnny Cash was desperate for God’s favor. Inscribed on his gravestone are the words of Psalm 19:14,
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Ordinary Faith Extraordinary Role Models
Although the seventeen people in Eternity Through the Rearview Mirror all did extraordinary things in one way or another, the common thread throughout the accounts is a simple faith. And the author spurs us to consider what our faith could accomplish:
Think you’re too ordinary? Think again. Tomorrow needs you.
If you’re looking for a unique and inspiring graduation gift, this is a great idea. Order via the author’s site and receive free shipping! (No coupon code needed)
The author is also holding a giveaway —