I read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers for the umpteenth time and so many thoughts ran through my head as I reflected on the intensity of love that spread across the novel.
This amazing novel, Redeeming Love, is a beautiful retelling of the story of Hosea and Gomer. We see God’s unconditional and never-ending love portrayed through the eyes of Michael Hosea, a man who never gave up on his wife. Michael’s wife, Angel, had been a prostitute before she was rescued from the brothel where she worked, few minutes before an incident that almost led to her death.
Angel, who had never experienced the kind of love displayed by her husband runs away while Michael goes in search of her several times and brings her home.
By the time I was done reading this book, I couldn’t stop the tears that trickled down my face. The question that burned in my heart was;
Can love be this real?
Can a human truly love another despite the flaws and mess that they bring along? Is it possible to find a man who’d keep forgiving when he’s been hurt intensely?
I came to a conclusion that only God could produce this kind of love. Love that stays no matter how far and down we go. Love that always pull us back into his waiting arms.
Can I share some of the thoughts that stayed with me as I read this novel?
1. Abandoned daughters seeking the love of their fathers.
When Angel’s father came to see his mistress, (Angel’s mother), Angel wished he’d say nice things to her. She wished her father would glance at her and tell her how much he loved her. But he hated her. He hated the fact that she was born. Oh how Angel wanted that love. How she wanted to sit on his laps and win his affection.
I imagined many daughters seeking the love of their fathers. Many who no matter how hard they tried never got the affirmations they desired. But I am reminded of a scripture.
My father and mother may abandon me, but the Lord will take care of me. Psalm 27:10 GNT.
I wish daughters faced with rejection and abandonment will turn to the Lord and see how great love their heavenly father has for them. This love is far beyond what any man can offer.
In another vein, we need godly fathers who’ll be there for their daughters as they grow into the beautiful women God has created them to be. Men with the capacity to portray the God kind of love. Men who will not just be known as experts with the whip, but who’ll be God’s model for their daughters.
2. At eight, Angel was led into the hands of a devil called Duke. They say he has a thing for small girls. For years, she faced sexual abuse. When Duke got tired of her, he passed her over to other men. In simple words, he became her pimp.
Angel was that beautiful stone hearted woman who felt nothing after having sex with the men who sort her services. Nothing got to her. She was as hard as a stone until Michael came and attempted to break down those walls. She just couldn’t stay in that marriage. She was familiar with being used by men but this selfless love from Michael, she could not stand it.
There are lots of women out there in beautiful dresses with glowing skins and beautiful smiles on their faces, but beyond those smiles are broken and damaged hearts. Love is how we reach them. Condemnation is never what Christ came to give us even though that’s what we find in many of our churches. By reason of our union with Christ and our commitment to walking in the spirit, God shed this love in our hearts and He expects us to express such love to others.
3. Did you notice how Michael kept bringing Angel home every time she left him? That’s how God deals with us. He never really lets us go. He always seeks us until we get to a point where his love breaks those walls we have built to shield ourselves.
The first time Angel ran, it was because she was introduced to a life she never knew existed. Men came to her for sex. She expected that Michael would do same. But when he didn’t, she was disturbed so she ran.
Many ladies still act like Angel today. Because they have been battered and damaged, they recoil when true love comes their way and many times end up with people. It is the reason you find some ladies abused or abandoned during their childhood running into the arms of abusive men. Until they allow their emotions to heal and are enlightened to what true love is, they may keep going in a circle.
Every time Michael went to get her back, he displayed his love in greater measures. How many times have we messed up and we find God’s arms wrapped around us, nudging us towards the right direction.
4. The last time Angel ran away, Michael did not go after her. Interestingly, Angel didn’t return to prostitution. Love had transformed her. She left Michael because she had seen the way Miriam, a young virgin who had come to live in their community, stared at Michael with so much admiration and she felt her disappearance would give Michael an opportunity to marry Miriam who’d give him children. Michael deserved better, she’d thought. Beside the fact that Duke had removed her womb to prevent her from getting pregnant, Miriam was untainted, fresh and the best choice for Michael.
Did Michael fulfil her wishes? Find out in the book.
5. My best part in the novel was when Angel after running away from her husband got captured by Duke again but this time, we have a different Angel. She faced her greatest fear: Duke, the devil who had ruined her childhood. Duke was very uncomfortable with Angel’s calmness and new strength.
While Angel was in Duke’s mansion, she heard a child scream in another room. She immediately knew Duke was defiling the poor child just the way he had done when she was eight. When she got that girl out of that house and set her free, she actually set the little Angel who had been in bondage free.
6. God uses every experience for his glory. The good and bad. Angel, thinking Michael had finally settled with the ‘untainted’ Miriam decided to spend the rest of her life helping wounded ladies and giving hope to women. She set up a beautiful foundation, called ‘House of Magdalena’ where she taught these women how to read, cook, sew and start a small business . The place became a spot where damaged women found reasons to live again.
7. I still remember the statement Angel made the last time she ran away from Michael. She said she’d rather die than return to prostitution. How do you think such statement was birthed? Love. A love that only God could supply.
It was love that made the apostles chose death rather than turning their back on Christ. It was love that made Paul able to stand and say, I count everything but dung that I may know the excellency of Christ. It is this God kind of love that makes 1 Corinthians 13 a reality. This love however has been shared abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Our part is to receive enlightenment and walk in it. Just imagine what wonders will happen if this love dwell between spouses, if fathers express this kind of love to their daughters, if sons are raised in environments like this.
Again, we are reminded of Paul’s prayer.
That we may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth and height and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.. Ephesians 3:18,19.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is a beautiful story that will stay in your heart long after you finish reading it. God’s love will become more real to you than ever.
It’s interesting how a book written some twenty-eight years ago could still have such powerful effect on me.
This story, like other novels by Francine Rivers was indeed inspired by the Holy Spirit. Visit the nearest bookstore to purchase a copy of this book.