Where was God? . . . When I look back through history, it often seems that in the grand scheme of things, women didn’t matter very much. I can’t imagine a woman of Bible times thinking about her rights, planning a career, or longing for independence. Maybe she would’ve dreamed about the type of man she’d marry or the home she’d have—depending on what station in life she occupied. For some, the only hope of a good life depended on whether or not the master was kind. As those women experienced the disappointments and uncertainties of life, did their hearts ache with the question many cry today—how could you let this happen to me, God?
I pondered this as I read Love’s Sacred Song by Mesu Andrews. This novel tells the story of an innocent shepherdess and how her love changes a king. The main character, Arielah, is the beloved daughter of Jehoshaphat, a leader in Shunem.
Though Jehoshaphat is a godly man, he is not able to control his sons, and they subject Arielah to cruel abuse. No wonder when Jehoshaphat comes up with the plan of giving Arielah to Solomon as a treaty bride to keep peace in the north, she jumps at the chance. Marriage to a handsome king sounds like a dream come true, but things in Solomon’s harem aren’t much better. There, the plots, jealousies, and intrigues launched by the men and women of the royal court, almost destroy Arielah. She is maligned, cheated, used, and beaten. Not exactly what I expected in a love story. Yet against this evil backdrop, Arielah’s life shines like a beacon because of the love and forgiveness she freely shares with all—even her rival wives in the harem!
When he compares his character to that of his young wife, Solomon discovers he has much to live up to. And he constantly falls short. The story shows his inner weakness as he allows his women to cloud his judgment. But time spent with Arielah refreshes him. Their relationship reminds me of the quote that says a loved one “knows the song in your heart so well he or she can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” Considering how Solomon lived his final years, I hope he really did have someone special in his harem to inspire him while he was young.
As for Arielah, her story had me asking questions. Where is God when the folks who are supposed to protect and care for us fail? Why does He allow it? When we are helpless and hurting, does He care?
And my answers? As Arielah learned . . .
Sometimes He takes away the people and things with which we prop ourselves up to remind us that He “will never leave us nor forsake us” and to teach us that we “dare not trust the sweetest frame” but must trust ourselves to Him, first, last, and always.
Love’s Sacred Song is a significant, powerful story. Thanks to Revell Publishers for sending a copy for me to review. Would you like to experience Arielah’s story? Here are two ways to get your hands on a copy . . . Continue Reading…