Wednesday, April 17, 2013
A Hard Conversation
I have wanted to have a discussion with you. With you and with our sister Hagar, but today my conversation is with you.
I’m not sure what drove you to the life you led. I can’t see the turns you had to make. I don’t know what circumstances in life caused or led you to where you were. I’m not sure who left you, abandoned you, abused you, tricked you, coerced you or tempted you.
How many empty eyes did you look into and then away? How many nights were you left alone and lonely? How often did you cry because you were being known, but no one knew you?
Tell me, Gomer, when Hosea came was there a point when you realized just what kind of love you were being offered? Was there a moment of lucidity that allowed you to see past the place you had been and were?
When Hosea came and touched you, brushed his finger across your cheek, did you cringe because you were afraid of him or yourself? When he offered you his name did you shudder and wonder if he could handle the damage you would do to his name? Did you wince because you thought he would suddenly realize what you were? That he would wake up and recognize you and all the places you’ve visited? Or visited you?
Did you question the sanity of a man who kept bringing you back? Who kept carrying you home? Who kept loving you even when you spit in his face? Or turned your head from him? Did his love for you disclose and reveal your lack? Did it hurt you when you saw the pain on Hosea’s face? Did it concern you that you grieved him?
Did you keep returning to your old life because you didn’t feel worthy of your new one? Did you feel so much shame at being offered something so good and so right, when you knew yourself to be anything but? Did you go back to your former self because you were just sure you didn’t deserve the love you were being offered? Did you feel guilty for wanting it?
Why, Gomer? Why?
I wish I didn’t know you, Gomer. I wish I had no kinship with you. No association. But I have and sometimes I do.
I have stood naked before God. He has seen where I’ve been and what I’ve done, but like your Hosea he keeps coming after me.
His bride who sometimes hides idols under her camel’s saddle. His bride who often turns to other lovers. The adulteress.
And yet still He comes. He comes to me—knowing where I’ve been. Knowing the sins and my other lovers. He comes to me and whispers in my ear that he loves me. He doesn’t say he loves me anyway. Just that he loves me. He doesn’t come to me and point out the ugliness of my nakedness. He doesn’t come and condemn me to a stoning because I have not been faithful.
He comes and brushes my cheek and says,
I have loved you with an everlasting-love. I have drawn you with cords of kindness. I have hovered near waiting for you to turn and see me. I have stood with open and outstretched arms to welcome you back..
He lifts my chin and looks straight into my eyes and says, You are precious to me, and I love you. Though you are not faithful, I am.
Gomer, I’m sorry I said I wish I didn’t know you. I was lashing out because you turn a mirror toward me and I see myself reflected. Often I don’t look like I thought I would. I wanted to blame you for that, just as, perhaps, you wanted to blame others. But we can’t do that, Gomer.
Instead let you and I run into His arms and hide in the curve of them. Let’s press our ears against his chest and feel his heartbeat. Let’s let him love us. Let’s allow him to strip away the accessories of our prostitution. Let’s give him permission to unlock the fetters of our whoredom. Let’s ask him to send the other lovers away. Let’s have him answer the door when they knock and tell them they are no longer welcome.
And let’s tell him that more than anything we want him to make us his pure spotless bride.
Idol Lies by Dee Brestin, chapter 4
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Love in a Broken Vessel by Mesu Andrews