On Monday, when I wrote about Finding Space to Turn, I mentioned that I am bent on turning. If that phrase left you scratching your head, here is the rest of the story, that I wrote way back in January of 2016. As we enter this season of Lent, may we be willing to stop and re-turn.
Why am I amazed every single time that God reveals Himself. I mean, He does it so often, you would think I would begin to expect it. Yet, I am always surprised.
Consider this: Way back in November, my Wednesday morning battalion was discussing what we would study next. Several books were suggested, so we considered each of them before we decided on Jennifer Rothschild’s Hosea: Unfailing Love Changes Everything. Well, that was November, and then Christmas happened.
God took me on a journey through December that landed me in January, longing to turn back to my good practices of Bible study, prayer, and blogging (see ‘Turn at any Time’). This idea of turning starting churning around in my head over a year ago when a couple of friends and I were meeting once a week for what I’ll call ‘prayer talking’. Each of us was embracing the idea of repenting, or turning. We were deciding together that we had been walking the wrong way and that we were willing to turn around and walk back toward God.
Among many of the topics that recur in this blog, like healing and soldiering, I often explore the idea of repenting — of turning. Perhaps you, like me, find yourself learning the same lessons over and over again. Learning and forgetting. Straying and re-turning.
So, when I joined the battalion this morning to start our study, the one that we chose last November, I could hardly keep myself from gasping when our leader paraphrased Hosea 11:7: My people are bent on turning away from Me. I almost audibly shouted, “Yes, Lord, I am! I am bent on turning, and you see it! You’re speaking to that tendency in me!”
God used Hosea to speak to this trend that is common to humans — our habit of turning away. He knows us! He knew that we would take his love for granted, that we would wander to look at any shiny little thing that caught our eyes. He knew I would continually try to soldier my way through, believing myself to be capable of handling life on my own, thankyouverymuch. He knew that when I did this I would end up feeling guilty, helpless, unloveable, and beyond hope.
So, He gave us Hosea.
Short story, even shorter: Hosea was a man of God who sought out Gomer, a prostitute, and continued to love her despite her perpetual unfaithfulness. This, my friends, is a picture of God’s covenant relationship with us. God, who is God, seeks out the perpetually unfaithful and continues to love us! He keeps both sides of the covenant!
Hosea is a love story, friends. It’s a tale of the unconditional love of God for His people. A love that pursues the wanderer. A love that steps into squalor to find us. It’s a story of God’s love that is bent on turning away from anger in order to save us. A love that welcomes us back and embraces us every single time we re-turn.
“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled…return to the Lord…I will love [you] freely, for my anger has turned from [you]…[You] shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; [you] shall flourish like grain.”Hosea 14, selected verses
As I re-visit this post today, in February of 2020, I’ve just come from Ash Wednesday service where a bunch of the perpetually unfaithful stood together singing, “there’s no shadow you won’t light up, mountain you won’t climb up, coming after me. There’s no wall you won’t kick down, lie you won’t tear down, coming after me.”
He continually pursues us; there is nothing He won’t do for us us. He keeps coming after us.
Why wouldn’t we want to stop turning away and re-turn?