Truth hidden inside a parable. A story with a moral. Hope in the pages of a novel.
Those are the concepts that flood my mind as I think about Francine Rivers’ A Voice in the Wind; the first novel in her Mark of the Lion series.
The series was recommended to me by my wife and daughters, and being the guy that I am…a guy who loves novels with gun battles, car chases, or monsters that threaten suburban communities…, I was a tad reluctant to pick it up. Boy, am I glad I did.
The story of little Hadassah, a teenage Jewish Christian girl is captivating. But, more than that, it is on the one hand inspiring, and on the other hand challenging. It will both inspire and challenge your heart of faith.
Hadassah is captured in the fall of Jerusalem by the Roman army. She is taken as a captive on a long journey to Rome where she becomes the personal slave to a rebellious and petulant Roman girl who is close to her own age, but is bent on the selfish pleasures found in first century Roman society. The girl’s parents are kindly, but lost in the emptiness of idol worship or the pursuit of financial wealth. The girl’s older brother is lost in his pursuit of personal pleasures. Her “owners” know that she is Jewish, but are unaware that she is a Christian. She keeps that fact a secret while she faithfully and lovingly serves both the girl and her family for several years because Christians were routinely sentenced to death in the Arena. All the while, her devotion, humble service, and extraordinary affection for her captors begins to cause ripples in the waters of their lives, and ultimately her true faith begins to come to the surface.
Over time, her quiet faith becomes both a balm and a thorn to various members of the family, and the story culminates with a climax that is both devastating and at the same time incredibly inspiring. Tears of both joy and sorrow will flow as you read the last several pages. You will feel so many conflicting emotions, and it will make you reconsider what you really believe, and just how deep your own convictions go.
While some may view this book as a Christian romance story and there is some romance to be found, it is much more and much beyond that simple categorization. This book will challenge you to your core. It will make you reexamine your faith at a level you didn’t realize needed to be reexamined. It will inspire you to new highs of love, service, and selfless devotion.
I recommend this book to every Christian, every person who is thinking about becoming a Christian, every person who used to be a Christian, and any person who is remotely curious about what it really means to be a Christian. This book depicts Christianity as we rarely see it in 21st century America, and the core of our faith is found in the parable it contains.
Well done Francine.
Now, on to Book Two.