Wow! That’s pretty much the one word that comes to mind when I think of “The Mark of the Lion” series by Francine Rivers. I recently finished all three books in the series and am quite in awe of the beauty of the story with its deep message of faith and love.
It follows a young Jewish girl named Hadassah as she is taken into slavery by a Roman family and forced to keep quiet about her belief in God during the times when Christians were persecuted for their beliefs. Along the way she falls in love with the son of the Roman family she is serving and has to cope with the fact that he is unsaved and hates her God. The story is beautiful, poignant, tragic, and worthy to be read by all. And there are quite a few twists that will keep the thrill-seekers satiated.
One of the greatest elements about this series is that Francine Rivers interweaves true history into the story, making it seem as if the characters are real people from the past. Anyone who has a love for old Roman history in the time of gladiators and martyrs should read these books. They are filled with action that never lets up. I literally couldn’t put the books down, even when I was exhausted and my mind was calling me to sleep. They are jam packed with a message about standing up for what you believe in even in the midst of possible death and learning to love everyone despite their differences in lifestyle and beliefs.
What Rivers has done is create a series that teaches Christians to love everyone and not be so quick to judge, but instead pray for those who may be doing things deemed evil or wrong. So many Christians today have forgotten the message of love and instead preach hate against anyone who is sinning in a different way than them. Rivers reminds us not to forget that what God wants for all of us as Christians is to shine His light in the world, not be a stumbling block or a judge for everyone. Instead, we must remember we all fall short in some area of our lives and we cannot so easily point fingers at others. We must simply pray and love. That is the whole message of these books and I encourage all to read them.