In January of this year, I reviewed Alicia Willis's 18th Century novel Grace Triumphant (see the original review at http://defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2017/01/review-of-grace-triumphant-by-alicia.html). I thoroughly enjoyed it when I read it, and as time has passed, I noticed yet another gem tucked inside the story.
The book follows three characters: Captain Russell Lawrence, cabin boy Jack Dunbar, and English aristocrat Elizabeth Grey. The narrative is told from the point of view of each of these three characters and the author does an excellent job of never allowing the characters to know each others' thoughts, though we as the readers can get inside the minds of all three. Jack Dunbar's story quickly links up with Russell Lawrence's, and their two points of view then focus on the same events: a pirate attack, for example, is seen by both.
But Elizabeth Grey is different. We see high-society London through her eyes, and her eyes alone. We have no way of analyzing her character from the perspective of an outsider. All her actions are peppered with nagging doubts and prayers that she will be found true to her convictions. This sort of internal struggle is something I greatly sympathize with: trying to do the right thing, but knowing one's weaknesses and fearing that they will taint the good we are trying to accomplish.
But eventually, we see Elizabeth as others see her: a fine example of a godly Christian woman. While her internal struggles have been real, they have not hindered her good works or others' good opinion of her. I found this encouraging. Even though our good works may be tainted by our weaknesses and sins, these works will still shape our character into what we were created to be--reflections of the goodness of our Creator. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)