I have always been attracted to reading non-fiction. I like reading about something that I can use in my daily life, whether it be self-help or learning a new concept or method of accomplishing a goal. I didn’t think that reading fiction would help me accomplish that desire inside. Until recently. My aunt encouraged me to read Francine Rivers’, The Mark of the Lion series. At first, I felt that it lacked a flow of the plot, but as I read more and more, the book was completely riveting. I could not put it down. Not only was it an encouragement for me to continue an intimate relationship with God, it really caused me to reevaluate my own life and how I live daily. By the time I reached the 3rd book, I was totally hooked.
There is an excerpt that I want to share because it really touched me.
In sharing information about her life with Atretes, Rizpah admitted to who she was and what she did in her past before coming into a relationship with Christ. Atretes was angered by her admission.
“I deserve death. I know that. A hundred times over.”
His chest tightened at her words and at the look of grief in her eyes. His mind filled with the faces of the men he had killed.
“It’s by God’s grace that my life is different,” she said.
He let go of her. Gritting his teeth, he shook his head, trying to deny everything that she has told him.
“I’m sorry, Atretes,” she said, trying not to cry and make it worse for him. “I never thought the choices I made mattered. My mother was dead. My father…” She lowered her head. “I didn’t care what happened. It was painful enough staying alive without thinking how I did it. But I was wrong, so wrong.”
“Jesus shed his blood so I could be cleansed of what I’d done. He forfeited his own life for every one of us, forgiving us all our sins. He opened a new path for any who choose to take it, and I did. And I will continue to do so, no matter the cost. I cling to Christ with all my heart. And I won’t let go.”
The interaction between these two characters is something I have had to face in my own life. Having made some disastrous choices, I have had to deal with the reality of the hurt that those choices have caused others around me. There have also been times of being rejected by others because of past choices.
I have felt the incredible peace of knowing that as I followed Christ, I was cleansed of my past. What I am sure of is this… Christ lives in me. He has changed me. I will cling to Him daily. I won’t let go.
*excerpt from As Sure as the Dawn by Francine Rivers