The Sun Does Shine is the true story of Anthony Ray Hinton, convicted of murders he did not commit and sentenced to die. Ray spent almost thirty years on Death Row until finally being found innocent and released in 2015.
His story is one of endurance and faith in the midst of a terrible situation; of his decision to make a home where he was instead of wishing he were somewhere else.
Near the end of the book, Ray writes:
“I forgive because not to forgive would only hurt me. I forgive because that’s how my mother raised me. I forgive because I have a God who forgives. I look for purpose in losing thirty years of my life. I try to make meaning out of something so wrong and so senseless. We all do. We have to find ways to recover after bad things happen. We have to make every ending be a happy ending. Every single one of us wants to matter. We want our lives and our stories and the choices we made or didn’t make to matter. Death row taught me that it all matters. How we live matters. Do we choose love or do we choose hate? Do we help or do we harm?”
The book ends with Hinton saying:
“My wish is that you find hope within these pages. Hope to keep on fighting, to keep on living, to believe that you can change or your situation can change. Remember none of us are the worst thing we have done, and right now, wherever you are, whoever you are, you can reach out to your fellow man or woman and bring your own light to the dark places.”
One of the things that helped Ray Hinton to recover and to keep on going was the fact that he had a friend who chose to love him no matter what, who reached out and brought light into Ray’s darkness. For thirty years that friend travelled to the prison every weekend. At the end of the thirty years he was still there at the prison, waiting for Ray to be released.
Ray’s friend became the hands and feet of Christ for thirty years, caring about Ray, encouraging him, and loving him in spite of how things seemed to be.
Reflection Question: “Is there someone in your life that you can be a faithful friend to?” OR “Were you able to get through a difficult time because of a faithful friend?”