Rachel, Beloved of God
post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: Rachel, Beloved of God
Author: Agnus Scott Kent
Major Themes: Early 1900s, Jews, Jewish Families, Faith, Christian Living
Synopsis: Rachel, a young Jewish woman, longs to serve her Messiah—but with her family against her will she ever live in a happy, Christ-loving home?
Rachel, Beloved of God is—in many ways—a 2,000-year-old story. Although set in New York in the early 1900s, Rachel’s story could have happened any number of places over the centuries. This story makes me cry every time I read it—it is an incredibly sad story, yet in some ways also joyful.
Rachel, a young Jewish bride, is delighted in her new home and life with her beloved Max. It is the first time in many years since her parent’s death that she has felt true happiness. However, her mother-in-law believes she doesn’t know anything about the art of being a housewife.
“I meinself will learn her eferythings!” Mrs. Kalinsky boasted.
Soon, instead of happiness as she had hoped for—and experienced for a few short months—Rachel’s life and emotions are turned topsy-turvy with her mother-in-law’s sharp disapproval of everything she does. In desperation, she turns to some dear friends she has known for a long time, seeking a little peace and comfort outside of her sad life. On one of her visits there, she encounters an English missionary—and soon learns to know Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
When Mrs. Kalinsky finds out, she is furious—and soon after professing her faith in the Lord, Rachel is kicked out of her home. Her husband, son and husband’s family moves to California, leaving her behind. She longs to share the love of Jesus with her husband and son, but they consider her meshumed—cursed of God and man, apostate from the Jewish faith—and will have nothing to do with her. Can she ever be happy again? Will her years of longing for a family who serves the Messiah ever come to fruition? Or will she end her days, basically living as a widow? Does God truly answer prayer?
Rachel, Beloved of God is a very sad story. Yet, throughout, there is a thread of hope—and a strong theme of having faith in God no matter what happens. One part of the book I loved was the glimpse into what a Jewish family looks like, and how they live their daily lives. While hard to get into, Rachel will stay on my shelf for many years to come.
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