Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn't Give Up. Based on Romans 8:28, which says, "We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose," it is an inspiring story of love despite tragedy and a commitment which does not waver.
The back cover author blurb describes their story: "Ian and Larissa Murphy are husband and wife. They love one another. They laugh together. They seek to serve God together all while dealing with the implications of life in a world marked by suffering, yet compelled by love." I love that description - compelled by love. It is certainly a mighty force in the tale of their love story.
Ian and Larissa had only been dating for about ten months, when Ian was in a car accident which resulted in brain damage. At first, everyone thought he would die. His injuries were serious; the prognosis was grim. He was failing four out of every five brain activity tests. As his girlfriend, Larissa writes of this unsettling time, where her desire to be involved with his care and her ache for things to return to the way they once were battle within her. Ultimately, they end up getting married and are committed to a life of love, in spite of the obstacles they face due to his brain damage.
I was expecting the story to be told in a more linear fashion, but they decided to jump back and forth from the married relationship to the dating relationship. At times, this was a little bit jarring. I guess I also expected pictures. It would have really complimented the story well to be able to see both of them as kids among their family members and then together both in the dating stage and in their new married existence.
Still, it was an encouraging, inspiring story. How could you come away from a tale such as theirs without feeling a renewed sense of purpose to cling to your own commitments and vows, no matter what life might throw at you? I loved the closing appeal, written by Ian's father, encouraging the reader to respond not with praise for Larissa's endurance, but with awe for the example it is of our Lord's unwavering love.
He writes: "God is limitless in His capacity to remain devoted to me, though I don't deserve His care.... Larissa's devotion directs my attention to the Savior. It is a glimpse of Christ.... When we see Larissa and Ian together, we should not be amazed by her devotion and love. Instead, we should be pointed to Christ, amazed by His love for us and the miracle it is that we can reflect even a portion of that."
If you can spare ten minutes, this video about their story is well worth viewing: