I disagree with the video in which she speaks of "everyone" having a story to tell and a trial or misfortune "just around the corner". I am 72 and have been living with a trial for 20 years. I know MANY MANY believers especially who have no concept what I am going through because their lives have been comfortable and good. They do not know how to help me because they have no idea of my ragged hope. There are some who seem to have one trial after another and then there are those who have a lifetime of ease. The why of that reasoning is known only to God. I just know that for me I have few people who can relate to my difficult life and I have been hurt and betrayed by Christians more than the unbelievers. Something not right about that.
The general premise of this book was good, but it could have been so much more. While I did find the scriptures and questions throughout to be helpful and thought provoking, I was disappointed in the shallowness of each story. By shallowness I mean lacking. It seems the stories were too short and had very little substance to them. I would love to have seen a little more detailed information about how each individual was able to find the faith to hold on and move forward along with some solid ideas and suggestions to follow.
Ragged Hope recounts 25 true stories of individuals and families who have survived the fallout of other people's choices. Their struggles run counter to the glamorized infotainment that permeates our news. Matching story with scripture Cynthia Ruchti concludes each story with Reflections and If you know_
The Reflections include comments about the story and raise thought-provoking questions. For example, in the "Thousand Bad Decisions" story the author comments and asks:
But many sorrows are a reflection of a much longer history than a single choice. In your own situation, can you trace back to
"So, that's where it all started"?
The section If you know someone like the person in the story relates follow up information and advice. For example, in the "Thousand Bad Decisions" story Cynthia reports that after 17 years in prison Max found Christ through the visitation and encouragement of a caring Christian, not a jail minister. She asks:
Is someone's turning point waiting for you to abandon your hesitation?
She concludes the story with this verse:
Follow my example, just like I follow Christ's. 1 Corinthians 11:1 (Common English Bible)
Ruchti's counselor-teacher approach (a result of 33 years of leading retreats and hosting a radio program) is applied Christianity. Her book can be an understanding friend for those going through similar struggles. For old and new Christians her book can be an invaluable training tool. For high school and college young people, her book is a window on the real world, a troubled world but with "Hope that glows in the dark".
And hope does not disappoint. Romans 5:5 (New American Standard Bible)
John Donne's profound line, "No man is an island," has become an almost trite acknowledgement that human beings' actions affect each other. In Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People's Choices, Cynthia Ruchti, with masterful storytelling style, relates true examples of those who assume island-like autonomy. Often their lives erupt like volcanoes, spewing choking consequences that explode their loved ones' worlds as well. With characteristic compassion and insight, Ruchti relates how God heals resulting wounds as His people cling to tattered but indestructible hope.
A multi-published author and popular speaker, Ruchti not only has shared in these stories with friendship, counseling, and prayer, but has herself held fast to ragged hope in the face of personal tragedy and struggle. Her chapters ring with the authenticity of experience.
As readers turn the pages of this book, they will not only apply its truths to their own challenges, but think of at least a dozen people who should read it.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but my opinions are my own.
A gurney lumbered down the neighbor's sidewalk with a body bag. Though my brain screamed at me to cross the street, feet remained froze on the hardwood floor by the living room window. Fear of not knowing what to say to lend comfort and support immobilized me.
Cynthia Ruchti's book Ragged Hope addresses moments like this. Cynthia listened to and recorded the stories of lives forever changed in a instant of time. Each story, interesting enough to stand alone as a book, tells about the ripple effect of choices other people make on the lives of those around them.
This book stands as a banner of hope rising to wave above shattering circumstances. At the end of each story Cynthia invites the reader into a time of reflection and decision of how to respond to the needs of those around us or even make a personal application if we have similar circumstances in our lives. Each chapter concludes with scriptural wisdom to meditate on.
Eventually I overcame the fear that kept me from crossing the street to listen and offer a hand to hold as my neighbor took her first wobbly steps into the world of widowhood. I've never regretted being there for her. I applaud this book for encouraging and giving direction to readers as to why it is important to step forward and offer understanding as well as hope to those on a difficult journey.