I read quite a few books during the course of a year, most of them fitting the Christian non-fiction category. However, about once a year a good fiction book will catch my attention and I’ll take the time to indulge. The one I am reading now is Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love. The copy I have is the 20th Anniversary Edition, so I’m just a few years behind. One of the girls we visited in the jail asked if I had ever read it. I told her I had heard of it, but had never taken the time to read it. She said it was on the book cart so she decided to read it. She couldn’t put it down. It spoke to her in a dramatic way. Now that I’m in the middle of it I can see why. WOW!!
Redeeming Love is based on the story of Hosea and Gomer in the Old Testament. God foreshadowed what would happen to the Israelites by instructing Israel’s prophet, Hosea, to marry Gomer, a prostitute who had a difficult time leaving the only life she had ever known, even though she was offered freedom and true love. Hosea followed God’s instructions by marrying Gomer. Her continual unfaithfulness to Hosea mirrored the children of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. God used this dysfunctional marriage as an object lesson for the Israelites. After Gomer had committed adultery and left Hosea, God told him, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods.” Hosea obeyed God again by going to the man she was living with and buying her back. Hosea told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.” It’s not a coincidence Hosea’s name means “salvation.” He showed his love for Gomer by pursuing her, paying the price for her, bringing her home, and living with her. He rescued her and all he asked in return was her faithfulness.
Francine Rivers masterfully compels her readers to feel the insecurities, hopelessness and shame of Angel, the prostitute. She paints Michael Hosea with, not only true-to-life anger, confusion, and doubt, but also faith, and unstoppable love. Her characters’ relationship gradually changes from duty to a love that’s too good for words.
I’ve sometimes thought that is what happened with God and me. He pursued me, paid a great price for my sin, wanted to shower me with good things, but I thought I didn’t deserve them. He looked past my sins, but they were all I saw. He looked at the love I had for Him in my heart, but all I saw was hurt and insecurity. He saw what I could be. I saw what I had been. But now I’m on the happy end of my journey. He causes me to celebrate His kindness so I can share it with others. He has forced me to take my eyes off myself and keep them focused on Him. Oh, I still make my share of mistakes whenever I blink, but I feel His conviction much sooner which helps keep the consequences to a minimum. I can look back at the past and see all the places God carried me and the people He put in my path to help me muddle through. I can even see how some of those unpleasant experiences taught me things I am able to use now.
God is good. He sees the big picture in all our lives. If you feel you are on the uphill side of life right now, look around. God is as close as you will let Him be. Pull Him close and slide down the other side. He is pursuing you because you belong to Him. He has paid for your sin because He loves you more than you can even imagine. He wants you to stay with Him and learn to trust Him to take care of you. Only then can you give the people in your life the kind of love Hosea gave Gomer – a love that says, “Stay with me and I’ll love you forever – no matter what!”
(Click here to listen.) There Is a Fountain
If you would like to be put in a drawing for Francine Rivers’ book, Redeeming Love, just let me know by commenting on this post.
Redeeming love to you all!