Thanks to my best friend, I just finished the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers last night. I had tried reading book one a year ago almost... and failed. Didn't like it, gave up. But, over the last few months I have fallen in love with this series. It's one of those series I could read over and over again.
The first book is about Hadassah, this young girl who's faith is unsteady. But, throughout the book, her faith strengthens and she starts relying more on the Lord. It's so evident seeing the Spirit work in her life.
Book two continues with Hadassah's story, and tells the story of Marcus - the son of the family that Hadassah serves - finding his faith. I think what hit me most with this book was that because of the way Hadassah lived her life and impacted Marcus, after she was thought to of died... Marcus became a believer. I only hope that my life can influence others and draw others closer to Christ. Every relationship - friends, family, boyfriend, co-workers, etc.
Sometimes when I meet people, I wonder if they're a believer, and I usually find out through conversation or Facebook. It's happened a few times when I start thinking maybe they person doesn't know Christ, find out they do and I'm like oh, crap. In those moments, the Lord reminds/asks me - what about myself, do people think I know Christ by the way I act and talk?
Book three is about Atretes and Rizah. Another story of a girl influencing and impacting other's lives and drawing them towards Christ. Rizpah had such strong faith, and was completely sold out to the Lord. She was so humble and completely captivated by Him. Rizpah said something a lot in the book, something along the lines of, "though he slay me, yet I will trust Him."
I think this is one of the hardest things of walking with Christ. People suffer or go through hardships and turn from Christ, when ultimately we should draw closer to Him. Last year was a hard, hard year. There were so many times that I wanted to give up, I was tired of feeling hated, tired of crying myself to sleep. I kept drawing closer to Him and, of course, it was the best thing I could've done. Rizpah was so, so faithful to the Lord... at times I thought, I don't even know if I could do that.
Hadassah and Rizpah embodied Christ - they lived as He would have. The Bible tells us we're to be different, set apart, not follow the crowd. And that is so what those characters did in these books.
Granted, they look like trashy romance novels. But, I totally recommend anybody read them.