So Fantine was fired from her job and starts a rapid descent into destruction, and the Madame watches with delight, thinking that Fantine is only getting what she deserves. What a horrible picture. And yet what a beautiful love that unfolds in Fantine’s life. Through her suffering there is redemption, and the story draws in Jean Valjean and Marius. So many lives pulled into the redemption story. So should we feel sad for Fantine in the end because of her suffering. Would she have been better off if she had lived a life of comfort and ease with Cosette by her side? Maybe the redemption would never be needed then?

But human freedom requires the existence of choices, and bad choices are often made. Bad choices have already been made that have set our lives on edge, even biasing our perspectives toward self-destruction. And there is the need for redemption because of the bad choices because of the human freedom. And the most wonderful part of it all is that the redemption is more beautiful than the imagined easy life. The redemption comes in self-sacrificing love. Love for those who have not earned it, and even those who make the bad choices. But this kind of beauty with freedom and redemption and love requires eternal purpose. It requires Someone to reach in to our human choices bondage and rescue us. Fantine laid herself down for her daughter. She bears the very image of God in all it’s colors.