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Stopping off at a bookstore on the way home from a women’s ministry retreat, I found Redeeming Love on the clearance table for just a few dollars. That was seven years ago. Since then, dozens of friends have said, “Oh, you’ve got to read it, it’s wonderful” more times than I can count. It wasn’t until this month that I dusted off Redeeming Love and decided to see if all the accolades over the years were warranted.
Francine Rivers Redeeming Love is a retelling of the biblical book of Hosea set in 1850’s gold rush California. Following the life of a beautiful 7-year old through to adulthood, readers are immediately drawn into a story of great loss, abuse, bitterness, unforgiveness and ultimate redemption. Redeeming Love does what most Christian fiction does not–it goes there in regards to sexual abuse, incest and what drives a person to extreme depths of depravity. Rivers depicts masterfully the hurt experienced by a new believer at the hands of Christians when their past is well-known. Can one truly walk in freedom when other Christians seek to rehash and re-chain them to a sinful past? And, can our Father God soften the heart of the most hardened, especially when the hardness is for self-preservation?
You and and I know the answers to those questions. However, it is intriguing to read the musings of strong characters as they ponder the hand of God in situations that most readers can relate to on some level.
Redeeming Love had me seeing the ‘train-wreck’ of relationships and not being able to turn away. It is not the typical fairy-tale Christian romance as it delves into the hardness of prostitution, hypocrisy, and the real-life truth that often freedom comes over a period of time, not instantaneous. Can we, in real-life, stand by those ensnared by addictive sin and love them with an unfailing love like our Father?
Redeeming Love does include a Bible study at the back of the book that some may find instructive. The questions would be perfect for book club discussions. Although, I doubt any group of women on the planet will have a hard time talking about this masterful storytelling.
It’s an old book. Originally published in 1991, this gem of a book is excellent for a new generation of readers in 2014. While I recommend this book for every woman to read, I do not advise it for younger teens as it speaks straightforwardly about adult situations. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers will have you pondering with new eyes the book of Hosea and God’s unfailing love.
February: Love @ full strength in Christ
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