Sunday, September 02, 2007

Loving the unlovable

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Hosea 1, 2, 3

Hosea 1:2 (NIV)

2 When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord.”

Good morning!

Weddings are such fun! Filled with anticipation for a bright and happy future, the bride and groom promise to love, cherish and be faithful to each other every day for the rest of their lives. The vows roll off their tongues with every good intention. They make promises; only to struggle in keeping them. We want to believe that when we promise to love our spouse “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, and in sickness or in health,” we will actually receive better, richer and healthy. The ideal is what we want, but we don’t always get the ideal.

Hosea honored the Lord’s instruction by taking a wife who refused to be faithful. Gomer had many lovers, but no real sense of commitment to any of them. Her ability to trust Hosea completely had been shattered somewhere along life’s path. Deep down inside, Gomer was afraid if she trusted Hosea enough to give him her whole heart he would hurt her, just like every other person had done in her life. It was easier not to commit completely to anyone, especially her spouse.

Have you ever been hurt by someone you trusted and loved? We struggle to give our whole heart, holding back for fear of being abandoned. We wonder how someone could promise to love us forever, only to turn away when better turned to worse, riches turned to poverty, and health faded into sickness. God told Hosea his family life would not be easy. The wife he would take would be unfaithful. The children he would raise might not be his. And yet, God expected Hosea to forgive and love Gomer, in spite of her unfaithfulness.

In the human realm, it seems almost impossible to forgive repeatedly; to trust someone who has hurt you over and over again. Our judicial docket is full of domestic cases. Our judges listen to the many irreconcilable differences between couples who, at one time, promised to be there for each other forever. Inflicting pain and seeking revenge seem to be the only way to respond to the sins of a repeat offender. Have you ever tried to forgive the unforgivable?

The life of Hosea illustrates God’s love for His children. Over and over again, we have fallen into seasons of unfaithfulness. We make promises to the Lord and don’t keep them. We say we love Him and promise to follow Him every step of the way, but when it gets hard, we turn away. We blame Him for the trouble in our lives. We shake a holy fist at the Lord God Almighty, cursing Him with our lips, and hardening our hearts. We put up defenses and make excuses. And yet, He never stops loving us. His hope is that we will trust Him enough to take His hand, seek forgiveness, and allow Him to shelter us in His love. Just like Hosea, God gives us the choice whether to return or continue in unfaithful living.

Jesus Christ understands the heart of Gomer. He knows what it is like to be hurt and rejected. He came to rescue you and me from the things that keep us from trusting the Father completely. By the gift of grace and mercy, we can be restored to faithfulness. God’s love remains for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. He will never leave or forsake you. Trusting God completely means letting go of what you’ve experienced in the past, and allowing His Holy Spirit to do the saving work in your life. Will you open your heart to the only One who can heal your heart today?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: God to give you a greater measure of faithfulness today. Your life may not be playing out the way you had hoped, but He has the power to help you forgive the unforgivable and love the unlovable. Ask Him to help you today. I’ll be there waiting to pray with you at the altar of Faith Church this morning. Come join me!


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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