Monday, August 24, 2009

a truly authentic beauty: hadassah

So I've been stepping into a new world, set back in ancient Rome where men were forced to fight to the death for the enjoyment of others in the arena, and some were sold like cattle and made to serve their masters in whatever way they desired.

In this world, a little Jewish girl is captured after Jerusalem fell some years after Christ resurrected. The Jewish girl is sold as a household slave to a prominent Roman family to be the maidservant to a self-indulgent little mistress of about the same age . A converted Christian, Hadassah faces many challenges as she lives in a place that glamorizes almost every form of self-gratification and all forms of sensuality.

Her heart yearns to tell others about the hope she has in her, but in ancient Rome, "underminers of Rome's supremacy" are fed to lions as the multitudes cry out for their blood. Besides, the citizens of ancient Rome view Jesus as a "Jewish God", and who can compare to the Roman god's whose worship can consist of fulfilling the lusts of their flesh? As they live for the moment and to please themselves with whatever luxuries and passions that are available in this earth, they are totally blindsided to their need for a savior... the Savior. Sounds a lot like our world today, right?

Little Hadassah faithfully serves her mistress, even though she is bratty, self-centered, and rebellious. Unlike the girl's former slave, who did what she was told because she had to, Hadassah anticipates her lady's needs, seeking to serve her instead of merely obeying. Anybody can do what they're told. She even risks her life in order to save her from a certain death.

By doing this, Hadassah gained trust and respect, because it was evident that she truly cared, and that her thoughts were not thoughts filled with herself and her poor situation. And because of her lifestyle and loyal service, when the right time came she was called upon to share with the family she served about what made her different and gave her that evident hope, peace, and joy.

This story has made me realise just how important our actions are in regards to our testimony to others. As a slave, Hadassah was not allowed to speak unless spoken to. She was just a set of purchased hands. But oh how she impacted this family by the way she served them, the way she loved them, the way she was loyal to them, and how she endlessly prayed for them. They came to love her too, and grew open to learn about her God. And then in boldness, she was able to share about a God for all people: Jew and Gentile, who loved us so much that He sent His son in the form of a man to be the ultimate sacrifice and atonement for all the sins of the world.

Amazing. AMAZING. This is an authentic beauty if ever there was one. A girl who put her own comforts aside. A girl who, after seeing her own family murdered before her eyes, and then brought to the homeland of their murderers to serve as a slave, and one who had every reason to wallow in self-pity, anger, and hate, with the help of Christ, forgave and served with everything in her, to the point of being willing to sacrifice her own life for her mistress.

She was humble and submissive, with a gentle and quiet spirit. And after some time, as she grew in her faith, she also grew in boldness- boldness to share about her faith, even when she faced death because of it.

May we keep in mind how our life testifies to others. Our we self-indulgent, thinking only of "my life" like Hadassah's mistress? Or are we serving with a heart for pleasing God and not man, like Hadassah?

While reading A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers, I'm sad to say that I could see the inner man of myself some in Hadassah's mistress, Julia. She wanted to experience all the pleasures and excitement of the world, unaware of the traps laid before her. She got sucked in by the glamour only for it to lead to ill-health, depression, and severed relationships with those who truly loved her. In my case, I deal with fighting the yearning and urges of that kind of indulgence and self-centered living (it's a condition of the heart), and I praise God for sparing me the experience of learning the hard way like Julia. She learned that that sort of lifestyle may be pleasing for a time, but in the end leads to feeling unfulfilled, regretful, and alone.

A life-changing book, but a forewarning would be that it's not for the faint of heart. In it is described some of the harsh realities of that time-period.


Elena said...

Thank you for posting this!
I've been looking for something to read recently so I'll be looking for it.

Elena said...

Thanks for the heads up Abby!
Our week has been going pretty well, except for the cleanse that is :)

What are you doing this week?


Elena said...

Wow, a tutor in reading!
Are you doing the Christian Charm course?
So, Mica and I were looking up Guam and it looks like a beautiful island! It was fun to see your school listed as one of the Christian schools in Guam :)
What brought your parents to choose Guam? Everything on your site and on Wiki looked very exciting; I pray that the Lord will continue to bless your ministry there!

Well, Mica and I recently joined a double string quartet (She on the violin and I on the cello). It is very relaxed and we only play for each other. I have really enjoyed playing in a group and being able to play more classical pieces.
I am also developing a shop on; I haven't posted anything yet, right now I am trying to organize everything and decide on what I would sell.
Also the knitting :) That part has been a bit slow going but I am hoping to be making hats and socks soon!


Courtney said...

I LOVE Francine Rivers' books, especially that Mark of the Lion series. Thanks for posting this!

Costume Queen said...

A Voice in the Wind and the first sequel, Echo in the Darkness, are my favorite books!! It's awesome to find someone else has read them too! =)

Untraveled Path
Living the uncommon lifestyle of pleasing and honoring my Lord, Jesus Christ.

Aria of an Amateur
Ramblings of a Theatre Addict

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