Wright on Right and Wrong

September 19, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Hally Franz –

Harold Bell Wright wrote “The Shepherd of the Hills,” published in 1907, while living in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. His novel tells the story of a man named Dad Howitt, who leaves the city and trappings of success to live in the mountains where his artist son (believed dead) had worked and fallen in love years earlier. Dad goes to Mutton Hollow to right wrongs and become closer to his son, if only in spirit, but his true identity is not known to those in the community. Dad develops a friendship with Grant “Old Matt” Matthews; however, Old Matt would never have accepted Dad if he’d known who he really was. There is romance, tragedy, and a shoot-out with Baldknobbers. Ultimately, though, there is forgiveness that replaces hatred and repairs pain.

Branson, Missouri is the home of the stage production of “The Shepherd of the Hills.” The play has been seen for over fifty years now at the very homestead where Harold Bell Wright penned his famous novel. My family and I had the opportunity to see the production this past summer. Our tour guide told us more copies of “The Shepherd of the Hills” have been sold than any other work of fiction. I’m not 100% sure of that statistic, but I am certain of the enduring appeal and importance of stories like this one.

Life is about gaining and giving, learning and serving. It’s a process of growth that comes from making mistakes and making them right, both with people we’ve hurt and our Heavenly Father. Sin and repentance, forgiveness and redemption—these are themes we ALL connect with.

God gives us time in this space to have experiences landing all over the joy and pain continuums, so that we may gain wisdom and grow faith. It’s all in preparation for eternity in His place. That process is quite an adventure! It’s a romance! And, it’s real-life stories very much worth telling and hearing.

Let’s seek out stories in print and on television that offer something of value to our families. And, if I may, let me give a shout-out to Branson, MO—famously family-friendly, profoundly patriotic, and courageously Christian.

PRAYER: Merciful and Mighty God, walk with us as we encounter and endure challenges in life. May each be a cherished story in the furthering of our faith and relationship with You.

“They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10-11 NIV).

About Hally Franz

Hally Franz writes about her observations on family and faith, parenting and people. She is a former high school guidance counselor, turned stay-at-home mom. Hally and husband Tim will celebrate twenty years of marriage this year, and have two teens. She is a 4-H leader and band mom, serves as her church secretary and as a Bible class teacher. Hally enjoys traveling with her family and participating in monthly book club meetings with her pals.
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