Love first. Ask questions later.
In the middle of the Iraq War, Jeremy and Jessica Courtney found themselves with their two children caught up in the turmoil, just hoping to make a difference. After an encounter with a father whose little girl was dying from a heart defect, they began to investigate options for helping and learned that untold thousands of children across Iraq were in similar need, waiting in line for heart surgery in a country without a qualified heart surgeon.
With the help of their closest friends, they dived in to save the lives of as many as they could, but sending children abroad proved to be expensive and cumbersome, and it failed to make an impact on the systemic needs of Iraqi hospitals—the place where these children really should be saved. Despite fatwas, death threats, bombings, imprisonments, and intense living conditions, Jeremy and his team persevered to overcome years of hostilities and distrust in an effort to eradicate the backlog of thousands upon thousands of Iraqi children waiting in line for lifesaving heart surgery.
From the front line of the struggle for peace, Courtney writes a firsthand account of lifesaving and peacemaking in the world’s most notorious war-torn country. In the heart of conflict, there is only one kind of love big enough to change a nation: a love that strikes first.
This was an amazing book. My eyes were opened to so many things, and prejudices I didn't even know I had fell away. Jeremy Courtney and his wife showed that "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:2. Loving others who are different than we are is harder than I ever thought possible. But Jesus ate with the lowliest of sinners and did not turn anyone away. If we would take that stance with other peoples and nations, what kind of shape could our war-torn world be like?
I was really encouraged to know that grace in the midst of violence really does exist. Courtney reimagined and redefined what love really means, and that is sometimes costs us more than our prideful hearts are willing to give. But once given, what blessings can come of following Jesus's example! While I sit here in the comfort of my home and rant and rave about the problems we have as a country in the Middle East, Courtney shows that change is possible, and can be accomplished. A recommended read for anyone who aware of the Middle East and our dealings with them, and for anyone who wants to learn more. An uplifting read!
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.