You know you’re about to embark on a unique book when the cover page reads: “This book may be copied and freely distributed. Its contents belong to God; its work are His glory.”
Miracles: 32 True Stories compiled by Joanie Hileman centers on thirty-two people living in Maine who all were touched by God’s grace. Hileman does an excellent job of capturing everyone’s “voice” and writing their stories as if they are sitting in your living room sharing their lives.
The book is decidedly Christian in philosophy and features many people who were struggling through life and found their way to a better path by becoming followers of Christ. The people portrayed are generally middle class folks living in a small town setting. Some stories are anecdotal incidents such as “The Appointment” where a woman reluctantly keeps a hair appointment during the busy Christmas season. She winds up saving a choking child’s life and the appointment becomes divine intervention.
Other stories are much longer tales of despair and redemption. A sad commentary on our society is how many of the people in this book have struggled with drugs and addictions. They are the lucky ones to have found a way out.
“Losing Matthew”—Barbara’s story covers a thirteen year span about a mother who seriously messes up and loses her son to the foster care system, then to the biological father. I found her story of slow redemption especially moving. There were no instant miracles, but God never gave up on her, either. Barbara found God’s grace many times along the way, even after she stumbled time and again.
There are two suicides in the book. In both cases, family members receive supernatural encouragement to get through a devastating situation.
There’s an authenticity to this book that will undoubtedly resonant with many who will identify with the people who share their stories. Miracles demonstrates that life is not easy, but it can be filled with grace and joy, even in the most difficult of times. When people open themselves to Divinity—in these examples through the Christ Spirit—miracles do happen!