Wow! This is an amazing little book that presents the story of John the Baptist from a perspective I doubt that most people have ever considered! You will feel as if you are right there in the story with John and you will connect with him, not merely as a "hero of the faith," but as a real person. The story is a fictional account but it is based on the true story of John the Baptist from Scripture. In fact, it is more than just "based" on it because every element from the story here is consistent with Scripture and history. Gene is a wonderful story teller and has created dialoge and included historical elements to piece the story of John's life together in a way that introduces you to the real character. The story does not depart from Scriptural truth at all but actually will help the reader to see it in a clearer, more personal and meaningful light and apply it personally.
The message of this book will grip your heart and pull you closer to Jesus Christ. If you are struggling as a Christian, whatever your circumstance (be it sickness, emotional pain, depression, discouragement, or just feeling and wondering if God has forgotten about you or that He has not lived up to your expectations of Him... If you've ever cried out to God and asked Him, "why? Where are you? Why are You silent?") this is a remarkable book you need to read. It may change your entire perspective on suffering and give you strength and hope when all seems to be crumbling around you. I wish I could have shared this book with my father before he passed away. This book is not what you expect and it is not typical. Some people who have read through it have commented that it ends a little "dark." After reading it myself, I understand to some degree what they mean (though I wouldn't use the term "dark" at all myself), but sometimes life doesn't always have such a simple, happy resolve (at least to our human way of thinking). Sometimes we just have to bear our crosses and trust in a God we don't always understand completely.
Prisoner in the Third Cell is about a mind-renewal process concerning how we approach suffering. Sometimes this story gets a little deep and you have to think about it. When you're "going through it" it makes a lot more sense! Probably one of the most difficult lessons to learn through struggle and pain is that God's grace is really sufficient. In a world where so many televangelists tell you that all you have to do is give money and have faith and everything will be perfect, this book is a refreshing insight into the reality about suffering and true faith and how God's grace really is enough. In truth I have seen more people who have tried so hard to reach some high "position" of health, wealth and success by quoting this Scripture verse and that one and practicing positive confession until they're blue in the face and only wind up more discouraged, depressed, confused, angry and weary in the battle. This little book will open the reader's eyes in a new dimension of God's grace, love and purpose through enduring hardship and those seasons when we just can't understand why, and the heavens seem to be silent.
Gene himself is no stranger to suffering and brokenness and God has revealed much to this brother. Gene has such a tender heart for the Lord and this element of his life is so beautifully sensed in his writing. Highly recommended reading. In fact, all of the books by this author are quite good. Other good titles I found to be really a blessing were "A Tale of Three Kings" (get the video version of this book - much better seeing Gene himself tell the story) and The Highest Life.
4 Stars is my high grade for this title. I think I did not regard it as five only because it did kind of leave me hanging a bit at the end, but I suppose this was the point. Rather than just seek a simple answer, I need to learn the suficiency of God's rich grace. It's a contemplative resolve that's not so easy to swallow. I confess I wanted a brighter, simpler answer myself. I was left wondering, could there be more to it than this? But if you're going through some struggle or have a friend who is, this is a book that will be identified with and point you in the direction of grace. It's a great title, worth reading. It's relatively short and can be read in an evening or two.