Is the greatest thing to find.
When you’ve been broken many times.
– Mandi Mapes, Love Story
Me and The Girls are about to wrap up a study on Hosea. When we picked it, at first, I was hopeful. The caption of the study is “Unfailing Love Changes Everything.”
Sounds awesome. Right?
Plus, after reading Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love it can be viewed a bit romantically:
Boy loves girl. Girl is a prostitute. Boy loves her any way. They get married. Girl runs away and prostitutes herself into slavery. Boy chases after her and buys her back (multiple times) because he loves her that much.
But when I re-read the book of Hosea in one sitting, I had a terrible feeling things were about to get ugly in my life.
You see…I’ve found that whatever bible study I’m doing at the moment tends to shape the events that transpire in my life. I’m more of a hands-on learner versus a book learner. So, I guess God really wants to make the lessons jump out by making me walk them in some form or fashion.
(Note to self: Become more of a book learner.)
So, why did I think things were about to get ugly? Because this last time when I read it, I felt God pointing a finger at me.
I’m not the good guy in the story.
I’m the prostitute.
And let me tell you, my life for the last 6 weeks has been tough on many levels, and Hosea challenged me. It challenged me…
To see the ugly in me;
To see the beauty in God’s constant love and repeated forgiveness;
To be grateful for the grace and mercy He extends every single time I screw up;
To accept His discipline as love;
To realize that – in order to show God’s love to others – I have to extend that very same grace, mercy, and forgiveness time…and time…and time again.
But may I be so bold as to suggest that I am not the lone prostitute shamefully kneeling before God?
Even if you don’t want to see it – you are too.
We all stray – and even run – from God;
We all repeatedly rebel against Him;
We all look to other things for satisfaction or comfort;
We all sell out and make sacrifices to the little gods in our lives – the gods we’ve fashioned with our own two hands.
But here is the beautiful part:
He goes and gets us in the middle of our sin and buys us back.
He doesn’t chastise us when we’re back.
He is gracious.
He is merciful.
He is forgiving.
He welcomes us back with open arms, and He restores our position.
The book of Hosea is ugly…it is beautiful…it is challenging…
And it really does change everything.