The Lilies of the Field is a biographical fiction that is written by William E. Barrett and illustrated by Burt Silverman. Published by Doubleday and Co., Inc. in 1962, a movie was later produced from this book, which has been positively praised by Pitsburg Press as “Powerful.” Along with a sketched picture at the end of each chapter, the book has 127 pages.

After World War II, Homer Smith, a twenty-four-year-old black former army sergeant, sets out to live his life day by day. While traveling down the road, he encounters three women clumsily trying to fix a fence in front of a broken down house. Having not worked for a while, he drove down the driveway to offer his help. The head nun, Mother Maria Marthe, introduces him to Sister Elizabeth, Sister Gertrude, and Sister Agnes, who had all been fixing the fence. “Homer Schmidt,” she calls him, because of her strong German accent. “Fix the roof,” she ordered. Humbly not expecting pay, he is ready to leave that evening, but after being fed supper, he feels obligated to stay for at least part of the next day. He learns of their desire that seems impossible—to construct a chapel in the middle of nowhere!

How could they possibly build a church in the wilderness? Because Mother Maria had demanded that he would build it for them, he was left to consider this question. She thought that God had sent him to build the chapel for them. Without any help and few supplies, he would have to build it completely relying on and trusting God to provide. Homer was still determined to leave, but first, he promised to clear the foundation from rubble left from the burnt-down farmhouse. Abruptly, he then leaves, but, feeling compelled to finish the chapel, returns. Building with the few bricks the nuns already had, he came to a dead end. He ran out of bricks. Not being able to continue on the walls, he constructed an altar and pews for the inside. Soon, word of their ambitions spread to the nearby town of Piedras. The Spanish men who began to bring truckloads of bricks also offered their help.

Homer, having begun the project by himself, was intent on finishing on his own, although he used their bricks. He banned them from even touching his work, but they remained and watched. Finally, Juan Archuleta insisted on helping him with the roof, because Homer had no idea how to set a window in the roof. In building, Homer had little experience and needed help, and he had to learn to admit that he needed others. When the church was finished, the nuns granted Homer a seat of honor in the first pew of the chapel. Being a Baptist, he would not attend a Catholic church, so he left in the night. He was never seen again. He learned an important lesson—that with God’s help, nothing is impossible. He learned to rely on God.

This book was meaningful in stating and reinforcing a vital point in peoples’ lives—that God will never let anyone down. Its theme was clear. It was well written. God always provides. In our everyday lives, everyone should be reminded of this essential truth.