“A powerful retelling of the book of Hosea, Redeeming Love is a life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.”
What a powerful description! Are you intrigued yet? To be quite honest, I’m not much of a fan of fiction. I personally prefer to read non-fiction, especially spiritual enrichment reading. Call me crazy, but there’s not much I love more than sitting down with a Bible commentary, my Bible, and a journal and diving in head first!
Fiction with a redeeming purpose
I came across Redeeming Love somewhat by chance, although I don’t believe in chance but you know what I mean. I was in the Houston International airport on a long layover heading back to Phoenix. The plan for the layover was to meet up with a friend from college who lives there, always the Sanguine trying to even use a layover to get together with a friend. As it turned out, she had to cancel last minute.
What was I to do with several hours at my disposal by myself? My first thought naturally was “Shop!” So, I began to make my way up and down the terminal filled with stores, a dangerous endeavor considering that there aren’t many great finds in an airport and the prices are usually outrageous. I came across a Borders bookstore and ventured inside. I was delighted to find a “Christian” section, small though it was.
As I peered at the titles and authors, my eyes landed upon Redeeming Love. The title was enough to get my attention, so I plucked it off of the shelf. It took about two minutes to read the back cover and flip through the introduction, and I was sold. I purchased it and made my way to my gate to begin the journey through its 479 pages.
Once I started to read, I just couldn’t put it down. Long story short, by 3 a.m. the next morning, I had finished reading the last page. This book absolutely thrilled me, captured my heart, had me in tears, and everything in between. It truly is a story of redemption, of undeserved love and grace, and a beautiful picture of God’s endless pursuit of love for us revealed through the life of a prostitute in the 1800’s.
Redeeming Love + forgiveness
I’ve now read through this book twice, and the second time was just this past summer. I lead a small group of college girls once a week, and we decided to go through this book together. Their response to the story was incredible as they too were hooked right away.
One of the things I loved most about reading through it a second time with this group of girls that I love so much was watching their “light bulb moments”. Let me explain.
I truly believe that the college years are not only difficult and trying in many ways as you search for a future and an identity, but they’re also some of the most shaping years in your early life. You begin to make major decisions on your own, form your belief patterns, and one step at a time separate from your parents and begin to lead your own life. It’s often during these years that we tend to make some HUGE mistakes, in particular mistakes pertaining to relationships.
As young women, we’re seeking approval and trying to find it at every corner. We’re not completely confident in who we are or what we believe, and many times we settle for something far less than what God had intended for us. In many ways, I’m speaking of myself, but I’ve been in mentoring relationships with so many young girls now that I see these things to be true on a larger scale as well.
Love + grace
What I loved about reading through the book with my girls’ group was watching them see through this story a godly man pursuing a woman. Some of them had never really experienced such a thing before. It amazed them and gave them hope to wait for the man that God is preparing for them right now. It gave them confidence to know that godly character is attractive and to pursue that in their own lives. In some ways, it gave them a new perspective.
Coming from a slew of poor relationship choices myself, I was ever so sweetly reminded of my Savior’s love for me, His grace that covers my darkest of sins, and my most unpleasant past. I think this major theme in the book is what gripped my heart in such a way that it truly was life-changing.
There’s not a dirty spot of my past that His forgiveness hasn’t covered. His blood has washed me clean and purified me from within. His work on the cross accomplished my redemption, and now I am positioned in His grip. Try as I may to sabotage the first perfect love I’ve ever known, His grace continues to lead me home. His love will never cease to chase after me, even in my wanderings. His love is all that, and so much more.
I love how God uses a beautiful gift such as Francine Rivers’ and illuminates that love for us in a new and artistic way. This is a read you will treasure, one you won’t quickly forget, and one I hope and pray will reveal to even the hardest heart God’s redeeming love for His children.