This is the most beautiful, most heart-touching collection of stories I've read in a long time and they will stay with me forever!
The first story begins when Clare Canterbury applies for the position of Home Nurse which she saw advertised in a newspaper. She had 3 years experience as a military nurse caring for wounded soldiers returning from the Korean War. She was also an employee at a hospital in Denver where she cared for other soldiers as well as President Eisenhower after he suffered a heart attack. But unfair circumstances have left her homeless and without money. She really neeeded this job.
The interview starts out well enough but ends in disaster. Ultimately she secures the job by trickery.
As the story progresses Clare does wonders for Peter's body, soul and spirit. Peter believes God is punishing him but Clare tries to explain that God doesn't punish His children for sins Jesus already paid for. He does discipline, though, like any loving father. Peter tells Clare that God can: "...keep his love and His discipline..." But during a Thanksgiving prayer that's been forced on him, Peter is under pressure to say something. He begins a half-hearted prayer comitted to memory as a child then suddenly stops, realizing it isn't working. He then began anew and addressed God in a prayer that was five years in coming.
Through his growing love of Clare, Peter begins to think back over conversations he and Clare have had regarding God. For Peter, Clare represents the unconditional love that God has for Peter because she was able to look past his horrible wounds and see Peter from the "inside". This entire revelation hit Peter like a ton of bricks and he learns a valuable lesson that his relationship with God was truly "refined by fire!"
The second story opens with 9-year-old Susannah who is blind and her ill mother, Ellie Carver. Ellie is gravely ill with pneumonia, and Susannah realizes she must make the terrifying journey down the mountain alone and into town to get the doctor. That journey is only the beginning for Susannah, who must then wait out her mother's illness with strangers, not knowing whether her mama will live or die. After witnessing her mother having a horrible coughing fit and seeing doctors and nurses rushing from every direction toward her Mom, little Susannah is frightened beyond belief and runs down the hallway and bumps into a man in a robe who listens to her story and speaks very kindly to her and tells her: "I'll pray for your Mama, Susannah". Little does Susannah or her Mama know that this chance encounter with this kind man will turn out to be the best thing that has ever happened to them. You will be totally blown away by the rest of this story!
The third and final story introduces us to Miss Duchene who is admitted to the hospital after a car accident. Miss Duchene is a very angry woman who is uncooperative and throws a few tantrums, then decides to escape the hospital on her own. During her escape, she finds herself in front of the windows to the baby nursery, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Once again, you will be blown away by what happens.
Refining Fires is a book that you MUST read!! It's a book that will stay with you forever and remind you that no matter what your circumstances, God is ALWAYS there. Even when we think He is silent, not listening and not responding, trust me, HE is there as He has always been from the beginning. I've never been one to be stumped for words before but this book has done just that, I simply don't know what else to say except PLEASE READ THIS BOOK you'll love it, you'll be touched, you'll be hooked from the first page to the last page, and will be sad to see the end come. This is a book you'll want to read again and again and share with your friends and family. I hope Ms. Rainwater will pen another novel such as this one! Just a beautiful, beautiful book all round.