"Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers is by far one of my favorite books of all time and one I feel like every Christian woman should take the time to read. The story is based on the book of Hosea in the Holy Bible. Within the book of Hosea, Hosea is given a command from God to marry a woman of not so polite standards. After some time, Hosea marries Gomer and embarks on a struggle of a lifetime. Gomer does not want to be married to Hosea and turns away from him multiple times and leaves Hosea, even conceiving a child out of wedlock. After multiple attempts from Hosea to return Gomer to their home, Gomer finally returned to her husband and back to God.
Much like the book of Hosea, Michael Hosea is told to marry a prostitute and pull her out of the darkness. Many times Michael tries, and many times he fails. Eventually, Michael and Angel are married and Angel is thrust into a life she does not want to be a part of. She runs, Michael brings her home...multiple times. Eventually, Angel returns after coming to Jesus Christ and fulfilling His will for her life away from Michael.
This novel by Rivers brings about many issues that women past, present and future face while pointing to God the entire time. Below are those issues and how Rivers addresses them through her novel.
BEAUTY: "Isn't she beautiful Alex...Isn't she the most beautiful little girl you've ever seen?"
Throughout Rivers' novel, the main character, Angel (based on Gomer) is constantly being told that she is "the most beautiful" girl that anyone has ever seen. Men come from miles to see her. Angel's life is built around her looks. If she is not beautiful, she cannot make money at the brothel where she lives. Without money, Angel cannot escape (or so she thinks). Angel believes that without her looks, she has nothing.
This concept still remains true in today's culture. Women around the world are judged for their looks. If you are not what society deems beautiful, you are viewed as unworthy. Thankfully, Angel finds her true beauty in Christ at the end of the novel, which should be the goal of every Christian woman -- to find beauty within themselves because their creator made them.
PRIDE: “Because, for some of us, one mile can be farther to walk than thirty.”
Pride is a major challenge for almost all of the characters within the books. At the beginning, you learn that Michael is told by God to go and marry Angel. Michael at first does not want to marry Angel because of her history and job occupation. God tells Michael to marry Angel multiple times before he does.
On the flip side, Angel is annoyed by Michael's attempts to have her as a wife. All she wants is to make enough money to own her perfect little cottage with a white picket fence. Michael offers Angel a way out, and Angel refuses to take the offer. Thankfully, due to circumstances outside of Angel's hands, Michael and Angel are married.
While there are many other instances of pride within Rivers' novel, this instance is the very first showing of pride, and I do not wish to give away too much.
Today, our society is filled with prideful people. As a friend of mine said, "Sometimes God opens a door and sometimes we are a 'door stopper'." God provides opportunities for you to receive everything in life, yet sometimes we are not willing to take that open door for whatever reason. We are stubborn and do not wish to ask for what we need most in life. But much like Angel, in the end, God's plan wins either way.
LOVE: “Love cleanses, beloved. It doesn’t beat you down. It doesn’t cast blame...My love isn’t a weapon. It’s a lifeline. Reach out and take hold, and don’t let go.”
From a young age, Angel is taught that love means who can provide the most for you -- who will provide the next meal or new clothes. Love was a dirty word to Angel until she fell in love with Michael.
Ladies, I hate to say so, but our ideals of love are vastly skewed. We think that because someone says they love us, they would do anything for us. We expect the love to do whatever means necessary to make us happy. What we forget is that the man you are with or marry cannot save you; a man already has. Christ died on a cross to allow you to live a happy and long life. God does not deny love, but he loves in all seasons, even when we push Him away.
GOD'S PURPOSE: “Though fallen low, God raised her up, an Angel."
This novel is by far such a beautiful picture of how God uses our life circumstances and making those hard times into something beautiful. While I don't want to give away anything in the book, I can say this: God uses Angel's past in the brothels to help others.
I think at times, Christian women forget that they have a purpose in life. Think how crazy it is. God created every star and grain of sand on this planet. He created the galaxies, yet He knew that the world would one day need you. That's incredible. Angel had no idea what her purpose in life would be. She thought she was damaged and unwanted. God used her brokenness and made it beautiful, because He makes everything beautiful.
"Redeeming Love" contains many lessons that women need to hear and be reminded of. While this book is fictional, you feel as if you are witnessing each and every action of the characters within the book. Do yourself a favor -- pick up "Redeeming Love" today and start reading. You will not be sorry what you hear, learn and feel.