Sarah was only 8, orphaned and penniless, when Duke introduced her to a life of prostitution. By the time she met Michael, she was a hardened veteran who believed there was no hope and no future.
But Michael was send by God and, in the end, that made all the difference.
I’ve just finished reading Francine Rivers’ book, Redeeming Love, the second romance novel I’ve read in my life. But this one gripped me in ways I didn’t expect.
First, the warnings. This is not a book for teenagers. Although there are no explicit scenes, the ugliness action of Sarah’s life is implied. Her story includes incest, vicious beatings, and hatred that will curdle your stomach. There is no bad language but there is sensuality between a husband and wife – again, not explicit but not something my teenager needs to read yet.
Rivers has woven a rich story about God’s tenacious love – and given a reminder that no one earns their way to his compassion. This is a re-telling of the prophet Hosea’s command to marry a prostitute, set in the 1850’s in California. There are twists upon twists but God’s redeeming love is threaded throughout the story.
Sarah is rescued from prostitution by Michael, but the story is really about her heart. Can she believe in love again? Can she open her heart to hope and commitment, or has she been forever ruined by the shame of her past?
But what especially struck me is that God even had provision for those twisted with self-righteous hate toward Sarah. Although their bitterness was palatable, God didn’t give up on them, either.
Redeeming Love will challenge your ideas on sin and redemption. That’s not a bad thing for followers of Jesus.