Can God’s love save anyone? California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, Michael Hosea obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation until, despite her resistance her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she can no longer deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael Hosea does…the One who will never let her go.
I reacted quite violently to the story. I related so much to Angel it was like reading my own life. Her betrayal and abuse by the hands of men who should have protected her.What I truly struggled with was how, in the midst of her sordid life, she found a man who loved her unconditionally, despite her hard heart, despite her bitterness.
In truth it angered me because that had been the cry of my own heart for years – simply to be loved by someone unconditionally regardless of my resistance and fear – without answer.
Over time, a number of friends commented they thought it a beautiful story of which I obviously did not share the same opinion.It was almost two years before I picked the book up again.
Much had taken place in that time and as I began to read once more the story of Angel and Michael Hosea, my heart stirred. I still understood the heart of Angel; her sadness, the betrayal and eventual resolve to destroy a relationship before it destroyed her. But this time I also understood a love that melts the heart – a love that sees beyond the surface, beyond the mask, a love that sees the fragility of heart and holds it tenderly.
As I read page after page of the love of a man for his bride, tears streaming down my face, I came to understand I had been offered this love all along. And with that realization my heart broke in the knowledge I have always had His unconditional love.