After a weekend away, I started my morning slowly — putting some things away, thinking through the tasks of today, and generally shuffling around avoiding my Bible study time. Why was I avoiding it? No particular reason. Just out of the flow.
You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in several days again. A few things got in my way — an appointment here, a symptom flare-up there, a weekend trip to see the in-laws. And I find that when I get out of the routine, it is a little difficult for me to jump back in. It’s like merging into traffic. I’ve got to find an opening and just move in.
So, finally I did. As I mentioned last week, I am studying the book of Hosea with my Bible study battalion. The book is all about God choosing us, even though we are bent on pursuing other ‘gods’. He didn’t choose us once, but He chooses us continuously. It’s not over and over again, but perpetual choosing. Even though we are perpetually wandering, perpetually looking around at all the shiny objects, perpetually taking our focus off of Him.
He is The. Faithful. Love. of our lives. Period.
So, small example — He loves me and is faithful to me even though I was inconsistent in my Bible study and daydreamed during church yesterday. (I’m telling you, this pastor’s wife is far less than ideal.) He’s so faithful that today when I picked up my Bible study, He had the page turned to a huge example.
(I know I’ve written before about how, in some ways, I am thankful for the health issues that I have. Although I am often uncomfortable, fatigued, and frustrated with running from one doctor to the next, I have been granted an opportunity to slow down, reflect, and enter this new chapter. In fact, I’ve been slowed down so much that I can do nothing else but sit in amazement at His provision during this time.)
The Big Example — the very first words on my devotion today, I kid you not:
Therefore, this is what I will do:
I will block her way with thorns;
I will enclose her with a wall,
So that she cannot find her paths. Hosea 2:6
Now of course, this passage is talking about Gomer, the unfaithful wife who wandered off to other men. It is also about Israel, who wandered off to worship other gods. However, it is also about me. That’s how the Bible works. It is, as it says, “living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword.” And those words this morning cut through my foggy stupor to say, “Hello, Kristin, are you ready to sit down and hear this story about how I loved you enough to block your way with thorns so that you couldn’t continue to follow your butt-kicking, name-taking paths? Are you ready to hear again how much I love you and that I am able to keep you in this pattern of life so that you will make time to fit me into your routine?”
I mean, yes. Yes, I am ready. If I didn’t get caught by that scripture, I would’ve gotten caught by the first question that the author posed,
Can you think of any ‘thorns’ that God may have put in your path to slow you down and make you think twice about something you were doing?
Maybe some people can get slowed down by hearing a song on the radio, listening to a sermon, or having a good talk with a friend over coffee. Me? I need industrial strength slowing down. I wasn’t about to turn around of my own volition. I had to be stopped dead in my path by the thorns of chronic illness. I had to be relocated to a different home, state, and lifestyle. I needed a re-boot. Or should I say a re-built hard drive. I needed a next chapter.
And because He loved me, He gave it to me. And just like Gomer, even though I have been pursued and claimed, even though I have been given a new identity, I still sometimes try to go back to my old soldiering ways. I mean, I’m still human. And He knows that. So, he perpetually pursues me and reminds me that He has called me by name and that I am His.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Yes, yes you have.