Once upon a time we loved. We loved deeply and boldly and it cost us. So we stopped loving.
Isn’t that usually how the story goes? I think most of us would like to think we always love sacrificially, but the truth of the matter is that we are remarkably selfish people. When the going gets tough, we bail…
…not because we’re afraid of the pain or the wrestling, but because we’re afraid of how that painful wrestling will pockmark our hearts with battle scars.
What I’m suggesting today, is that those battle scars define us – if we let them – in good ways. In ways that say I am strong and I am quietly breathing my tale of lost hope into a tale of victory.
There’s one love story in particular that forever changed me. It’s nestled between some pretty ancient pages and it’s called Hosea.
Hosea was a man who chose to love sacrificially all the days of his life. These are the cliff-notes, a la Amy:
Hosea marries a prostitute, Gomer, but he wants a faithful wife. Clearly he picked the wrong woman. Or did he.
Gomer runs from Hosea time and time again. She entertains men from all over and she actually enjoys it. She has children with those men and Hosea takes care of them. He’s essentially a stay at home dad while Gomer sells herself to the highest bidders. And Hosea gets pretty angry. He yells at God, but God tells him that he must chase after Gomer, remind himself of her worth, and fight for her love. In doing so, he will prove to Gomer that she is more than an object.
Eventually, after she’s abandoned her family numerous times, Hosea goes and buys Gomer from her pimp. That’s in the Bible. He pays money for the woman he already (for lack of a better word) owns. Hosea buys Gomer back because he cares for her that much. He wants her to be restored from years of suffering – wants her to embrace her inner beauty and the God he’s quietly been following. Gomer is stubborn but something about this God person intrigues her, and by the end of the story, she’s surrendered to him and fallen for Hosea. Why? Because true love conquers all.
It stings a bit, doesn’t it? Gomer is a picture of our brokenness and while we want to identify with Hosea, more often than not we’re aligned with Gomer.
I have this precious friend who’s also called Amy, and she’s a phenomenal photographer. This summer, we decided to utilize photography to tell this story. See, Hosea is really a metaphor for every Christian’s struggle to remain faithful to God. We run away over and over and over again but he is relentless in his pursuit of us. He won’t give up, just like Hosea refused to lose Gomer to the world. Sacrificial love exists and it exists because of men like Hosea. But more importantly it exists for us because of Jesus.
Never ending, Jesus-shaped love.
Have you felt it tugging on your heart? Because it has a way of chasing after you, so be ready.
“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.” -Hosea 2:19 (My favourite Bible verse)