Each time that I hear about deaths due to conflicts in the Middle East, my heart breaks. I will be the first to tell you that I know very little of the history of the conflict there. That being said, my feelings do not change about the pain I feel in the wake of the loss of human life. Any loss of life appeals to my humanity and always triggers the need to pray for the families that will now be morning the loss of those they love.
At one point in his life, Tass Saada had a hand in causing many of those deaths. Throughout his youth, Saada was sent from place to place with his family, a refugee family tossed about as the turmoil in the area and the conflict grew stronger. Saada became more and more angry as he developed the belief that he and his people had been robbed of the land that was rightfully theirs. As a teenager, he enlisted in an organization under the leadership of Yassar Arafat, bent on doing what they felt the government could not. Saada allowed his anger and resentment to fuel the violence and took the lives of countless people in the name of recovering what he felt he and his people were due. If the story stopped there, it would be fitting to admonish Saada for glorifying a life that led to the deaths of so many. But, as is always true of a conversion story, that is not the end.
Many years after Saada managed to leave that life behind and emigrate to the United States, his life was changed by a man who epitomized everything Saada had learned to despise in his youth: a Jew. Saada’s rebirth in the holy spirit happened in a flash, and he began to examine what the Bible had to say about the promised land and in whose hands the land should actually be. He learned through God’s word that the land was to be shared and made it his life’s work to bring the people of the Middle East to a point of reconciliation.
Saada’s story is one that truly displays the awesome power that Christ can have to change a life if He is simply allowed into a heart to make the change. This book is broken into three parts: the first details Saada’s life before Christ, the second details his life after accepting Christ, and the third details his beliefs about what can bring true peace to the Middle East. Through God’s word, he feels that true peace can only be brought through reconciliation and details how he thinks that can be accomplished.
The point that strikes me as the most harrowing in this book is not the image that Saada paints through the eye of a sniper’s rifle, not the one where he details God speaking to him, but of a man whose life has been changed so wholly that he can stand in a room of Israeli widows and ask forgiveness for the part he played in the destruction of their families. Saada recounts his story without glorifying his actions, giving all of the credit for the change in his life to the almighty. He speaks about hope for humanity in the face of great odds, counting on God to bring the peace that is so desperately needed into a tumultuous region. It is that hope that can be taught to each member of the world, ensuring that we love like Christ loved, without malice, prejudice, or conditions.
This book was provided free of charge by the publisher as a review copy. The publisher had no editorial rights or claims over the content or the conclusions made in this review. Visit mediacenter.tyndale.com for more information on this book.