Emotions in a relationship are not static. They ebb and flow. They spark and grow dim. It's rare if, over the course of years, both parties are on the same emotional page at any given time.
This life of faith is a relationship between mortal man and an immortal God. Whereas time takes a toll on human relationships, God stands outside of time. His passion for us burns just as intensely today as it did on the cross. He is constant; I am fickle.
As I go about my daily life, it's so easy to take His love for granted. To cease to appreciate His care for me. To ignore His overtures, His gentle whisper to meet Him in secret. Other voices are so much louder, more insistent. His is quiet. His is unassuming.
A few blogs ago, I wrote that I relate so much with Hosea's wife, the prostitute. How time and again she was unfaithful, time and again, she looked outside her relationship to get her needs met. Instead of turning to her husband, she turned to other lovers. Aren't we the same?
Don't we look for validation from friends? Don't we seek identity from the world? Don't we seek peace from distractions like entertainment, food or alcohol? Does our job become the source of our stability, rather than God? In so many ways I am drawn to get my needs met elsewhere, to forsake my first love and run after fleeting pleasures.
I love that God made Hosea's marriage to Gomer a symbol of His love for us, His wayward bride.
Hosea 3:1 The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”
Human nature, I think, would wait for the adulteress to see the error of her ways; wait to see her come crawling back, hat in hand. Human nature might relish the sight of her, humiliated and degraded. But God's nature is one of complete mercy, of unending love. He is love. He "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Cor. 13)"
Gomer might have known she'd made a mistake. She might have regretted walking away; we can't know for sure. Sometimes when our hearts wander, we can't see the path that would lead us home. Reconciliation seems impossible. The journey back feels intractable. The good news is that Jesus will come to us. He will woo us. He will walk the whole way to bring us back. His kindness leads us to repentance. His love heals our wounds and His forgiveness wipes away our ugliness.
As I reflect on all these things. I open myself up to being wooed all over again. Jesus, lover of my soul, captivate my heart again today.