Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Redeeming Love. It has been over three weeks since I finished this book and yet I haven’t been able to shake it. When my mind wonders during the day it goes to Sarah, Angel, Amanda, Trizah, all the same woman but all different seasons of her heart. This might sound rather confusing but it’s actually quite simple, well the reason for so many names that is, not the material of the literature.

The novel is based on the story of Hosea in the Old Testament. It begins with a little girl daydreaming about meeting her father for the first time. She idolizes the father she never met without reservation. This is when her name is Sarah, during her state of innocence and joyousness. Her farther doesn’t live up to how she idealizes him and her life is sold into prostitution at an unspeakable age. Now since this novel is based on of the book of Hosea, I don’t think I can spoil it, but if you’re sensitive to ‘spoilers,’ here is where you stop reading, but once you read the book come back and process through this me! Okay back to the direction I was going, her name change to Angel (Gomer), signifies the end to her purity of heart and soul (ironic isn’t it) when she moves to the brothel. Her other names come from a man name Michael (Hosea).

Michael is a God-fearing man who lives his life according to the Lord’s will. It is the Lord’s will for Michael to marry Angel and he obeys. There is no promise to Michael that she is going to change, only that he is supposed to marry her. Michael knows the Lord intimately and knows that God loves his bride so therefore he should and does. Like God’s love for us, Michael’s love is not dependent on Angel’s actions. Angel hurts Michael deeper than he has ever experience, to his core, repeatedly. Yes, he get’s angry, and his human nature makes him question the Lord, but in the end Michael stands firm.

Angel doesn’t know how to love. Love to her is a male paying for her body or raping her. She possesses indescribable beauty and any man who uses her says he loves her. Angel doesn’t believe these men because once they get what they want or pay for, they go back home to their wives and children. Her feelings and ideas of what love is or means is tainted. The only part of her that no one has is her birth name, Sarah.

The first time Michael rescues Angel from a brothel she is inches away from death after being beaten by one of the brothel men. Before Michael picks her up and carries her out he slipping a ring on her finger and asks her to marry him. Angel plays along with being married until she is strong enough to head back to the city to receive her earnings she left at brothel the night Michael carried her away. Michael called his wife either Amanda or Tirzah depending on the mood she is in and the mood she puts him in. Angel will not share her birth name and Michael refuses to call her Angel because to him that isn’t who she is any more, so he gave her names.

Angel leaves Michael several times and cheats on him all but the last time. The last time Sarah leaves Michael does not go chasing after her to bring her back home. God tells Michael that he cannot rescue her, only the Lord can. Each period away from Michael Angel learns more truth about herself, love, and God.

I’m a newlywed from a broken family. My own ideas of what marriage and love looked like before I began the journey to marriage with my husband are strikingly different compared to what they are now. Before, I saw love in a marriage only coming from power and dominance. The words ‘I love you’ were contingent upon a check sheet of works. Today I know that love in a marriage comes from self-sacrifice. You love your spouse because Jesus loves him or her, not because that person met your expectations for the day. Our human nature can and does interfere with this; we are not capable of unconditional love like our Lord. However, by me accepting {and welcoming} that I choose to love my husband without any benefit to myself, I receive more {fullfillment, love, comfort, joy etc.} than I would if I did place expectation on my love. This way, I’m not confining love to a box but rather placing God in the center of it. I choose to love my husband only because God loves me and loves Christopher. In the end though, my husband and I are Gomer and God is our Hosea.

Have you read Redeeming Love? Where did you find yourself during and after?

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