The queen of christian fiction, Francine Rivers, has released another novel titled, ‘The Masterpiece’. It is an interesting and intriguing novel full of deep spiritual lessons and centered around a verse of the scripture.
When I started reading The Masterpiece, I expected the usual format- an interesting romantic story wrapped around biblical truth. I never expected that this 71 year-old Christian author would tell such a romantic story in a completely different style than what I was accustomed to reading.
I couldn’t help but smile when I got to the chapter where Francine pulled some supernatural stunts. Take a look at an excerpt from The Masterpiece:
The demons laughed louder, still gripping him, dragging him further, deeper inside the pulsing mouth of hell.
The morbid, decaying fiends in the walls and ceiling licked their lips and taunted him with vile names and horrific descriptions of what they intended to do to him.
They reached out putrid fingers, the stench of rotting flesh pressing in like a suffocating fog. Roman could taste it.’
Reading words like this reminded me of Frank Peretti’s Piercing the darkness. Who remember all the vivid description of demons in that novel? Chei!
So, what exactly is The Masterpiece about?
Roman Velasco is a successful artist who lives in a big mansion across his breathtaking Topango Canyon view. But he is unhappy even with all that he has and as a way of filling the void in his heart, he sneaks out at night tagging buildings with graffiti, an action that could land him in jail. Roman didn’t have a memorable childhood. His friend was murdered and then his mother, the only family he had, died from an overdose of heroine.
A lady, Grace, shows up at his house one morning, in response to a request for a personal assistant. Grace also had a terrible history; her parents died a violent death, she paid her husband’s way through school halting her dreams only for him to dump her after graduation, the shock of an unplanned pregnancy, the birth of a son she refused to give up even after agreeing to give a family for adoption.
Something unexpected happens as their employer- employee relationship is discarded for a bond of friendship, bringing their past into the open.
Will Roman and Grace be able to step out of their pasts into the bright future ahead of them? Will their wounds ever heal?
In Francine Rivers’ own words, ‘this story reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.’
Can we go right into the lessons I learnt from reading this interesting novel?
1. Physical attraction is very important in the choice of a life partner. Brian, a character in the novel, is a wonderful Christian man. He has a genuine relationship with God which is consistent throughout the story. Grace is comfortable with him and feels he is the man for her but as they get to know each other, they discover there is no spark between them. As much as they tried to force the attraction, it just would not come.
It made me realize that God will not lead you a partner you have no feelings for. If He leads you to anyone, he’ll put love in your heart for that person. It’s fine if at first sight, that doesn’t happen, but if after some time, the chemistry isn’t existent and being together just seems bland and boring, you should go and pray again.
Brian is the dream man of every godly sister. Fine. Intelligent. Sweet. Kind. Loves God. Deeply involved in serving God. Yet one of Grace’s great concern was the fact that there was no feelings whatsoever for him.
2. Grace came from a generation of abusive fathers. Her grandfather abused her grandmother. Her mother was abused by her father which led to her death and her husband abused her too. Why couldn’t one generation learn from the previous one?
It boils down to one fact. We are comfortable with the familiar and unless a person deliberately break that trend, the baton will keep passing on.
Sometimes we think because someone has been abandoned or abused by her parents, she would treat her kids differently or run from abusive men. It doesn’t always work that way if deliberate steps are not taken to ensure that psychological and emotional healing takes place. It’s not uncommon to find a replay from one generation to another. I believe with the help of the Holy Spirit, it is possible to be spread to the next generation only that which God expects of us.
3. Don’t ignore the tiny bells. From the day Grace met Patrick, she knew somewhere in her heart that Patrick had an ulterior motive but she ignored it. She was also warned that he was a player yet she felt privileged to have someone like Patrick, a ladies’ man, choose her among many alternatives.
Patrick was as dumb as an ass. But Grace was a nerd. An intelligent and naïve girl who Patrick used to accomplish his dreams.
Don’t ignore the signs. Those signs were evident long before bad marriages happened. Subject your emotions to the Lord and let him show you what you are getting yourself into. God will not come down from heaven to pull you away from making that bad decision. The signs are his way of saying ‘run!
4. I know some women do this even though I do not subscribe to it. Don’t put aside your dreams to pour in all your resources into another man’s dream because of a promise of marriage. I’m not saying, it’s wrong to help or support. But pursue your goals while you help in whatever way you can.
If a man is not even making any effort to build a life for himself and rather he is waiting on you, that’s danger lurking at the corner.
5. Friendship is beautiful. Let God lead you to godly friends who’ll stand by you when life is rough. I believe this hastened Grace’s recovery after Patrick maltreated her and hung her out to dry. After service on Sunday, Grace and her two friends would go somewhere for lunch to eat and talk.
6. When God takes hold of a broken life, He turns it into an amazing masterpiece. This was the greatest lesson I took out of that book. I saw how God pulled Roman and Grace out of the mire and turned their lives around. Our pasts do not determine the future God has prepared for us.
The Masterpiece is a true reflection of this scripture;
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10.