I am a book snob. It’s part of the reason I hated Twilight. I hate what’s mainstream because it’s loved by the masses. I want to think that I’m better than the masses and love better books than the masses love. Therefore, popular books have to really be awesome to win me over.
Friend Shasta recommended Redeeming Love to me forever ago. I think there’ve been at least 6 other women who’ve also told me that I have to read it… therefore, I avoided it like the plague.
For those of you who don’t know, Redeeming Love is a fictional retelling of the story of Hosea – a prophet commanded by God to marry a prostitute. The retelling is set in gold rush Califormia, and is classified as Fiction/General/Romance. The book snob in me saw that last classification there – romance – and turned up her nose. No self-respecting woman reads romance… I’m not one of those silly girls who fills her head with fairy tales. Or so I tell myself. You see, I’m not just a book snob; I’m an everything snob. I like to think that I’m better than the masses, and everything about Redeeming Love attracts the masses. It is the Twilight of the Christian world.
But do you know how many times I cried while reading Redeeming Love?
I wish I knew. I cried when Angel tried to do housework for the first time and failed miserably:
“First of all, you can’t expect to get it perfect the first time. It takes practice, ‘Like cooking stew,’ he wanted to say. ‘Like living a different way of life,” (128).
When I read that, it made me think of how upset and frustrated I’ve been with my attempts at nurturing the delicate Katie flower. I’m still mad at myself for messing up the shortcakes. Why don’t I get that it takes practice?
I cried at the part when Michael felt like giving up:
“Lord, I love her, but is it always going to feel like this? Like there’s an ache inside me I’ll never get over?” (123)
I’ve prayed that very same prayer before.
I cried when Angel was trying to be a good wife by doing housework but never letting Michael know her; I so often try to earn my keep with God without letting Him at my heart.
“He had not married her to have a drudge. He wanted a woman as part of his life – part of himself,” (141).
I think that part made me cry more than any other, because my heart so often believes that God would have me as a drudge.
I cried when Angel started falling in love, because God knows I’ve had to be dragged kicking and screaming into loving everyone I’ve ever loved.
“I’m falling in love with you. Oh, God, I don’t want to but I am,” (265).
Every time anyone gets close enough for me to love, I think that very same thought. I think it with friends, family, mentors… for that matter, I think it every time God pulls me in and I feel love for Him. I hate the vulnerability that comes with loving when I might not be loved back. Hoping for something that may only bring heartache.
“You make me hope, Michael. I don’t know if that’s good or not,” (308).
And when I started getting close to the end of the book, I realized that the reason Redeeming Love affects Christian readers the same way Twilight affects most girls is that we all want the same assurance:
Though you deny me, I love you with an everlasting love,” (418).
I wanted to hate Redeeming Love. Instead, I recognized myself in the book. I saw the story of how God always comes and gets me, and brings me back. No matter how I “whore” myself out and deny Him. He comes for me. He loves me.
I wholeheartedly recommend Redeeming Love to everyone. It’s definitely more geared to a female audience, but I think its beauty is in shining light on those dysfunctions we all suffer from, regardless of gender.