Maybe I have subconsciously placed you alongside the gods of Mythology…
The story of Hosea* has taken me by surprise. It has opened my eyes – actually my very soul – to Your heartache God, and in doing so, You have revealed a side of You that I had not before given much attention to, or attributed to You, as God.
Of course, I have always known You as the God of Love, but,
I have not before understood as I do now, You, as God who feels deeply, powerfully and painfully, a broken heart towards humanity.
You are the Almighty, Powerful, All-knowing God, so I guess I thought that meant love beyond emotional sentience – kind of a knowing and in control and volitional love, where You choose, exercise and resolve to love as an act of the will – as opposed to a sensitive kind of love, influenced and responsive to the things around You, and towards the actions of humans. Yet Hosea’s story, shows You possess what I have thought to be exclusive human qualities – anguish, deep pain, passion, desire – emotions that I both feel and often struggle with. I think I thought You were above feeling deeply this way, and that it was a characteristic and a weakness beyond You, limited to us.
Isn’t that what we are taught – emotions are weakness? I know – I know to repress them can lead to being emotionally unhealthy – but we do still push our emotions away. We don’t want people to see how we truly feel. We are told not to cry and to stop being out of control with anger and to get over it.
All this to say that I thought these emotions were confined to human existence, and not true of Yours.
To be God is to be above human. Different. Apart. Other. Yet to be God in the book of Hosea, suggests a Person who is subject to great sensitivity to hurt. Humanity is disposed to an emotional life that rarely fails to affect our actions and reactions and thoughts. I guess I hadn’t considered that this was true of You too.
Maybe I have subconsciously placed You alongside the gods of Mythology, whose stories infiltrate our lives through religion, history, and movies. And though they are taught as myth, and You as truth, I have perhaps muddled both in my thinking to form the picture I have of who You are – they who have the power and ability to make things happen that are outside of the human ability to do so, and who meddle in the lives of humanity – punishing some, honouring others, but who don’t really emotionally get involved.
It’s me grasping at ideas and concepts in order to capture Your essence and to give me an image of You. From childhood, we take in things around us, what we see, hear, know, sense and feel about something, and through the continual experimental exploration of our surroundings, we formulate a picture which becomes stored in our memory bank. I think this is what I have done with You.
You cannot be a ‘something’ stored in my memory bank like it was a shape to box You into. You are big and glorious and above anything I have experienced or known, and yet I constantly gather and box, gather and box, and because of the limitations of knowledge I have about You, I make up my God-box with pictures and ideas gathered here and there. It’s what I do. It’s what humanity does.
In this way, through seeing this emotional side of You, I feel like I can identify with You – and You with me – in the things that have been messed up in this world.
So, when I read the first few sentences of Hosea’s story, I sense pain.
I read these words and I glimpse something very deep within about to be expressed…
“The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, son of Beeri.” (Hosea 1:1, NIV)
the LORD. Oh God, right at the start of this book is You. It’s Your words to Your beloved Israel, extending also to all of humanity. It’s Your book and Your heart expressed. You, LORD, are presenting Your story, through the actions You ask Hosea to take, to the words You want Israel to hear, to Your heart, broken.
How both privileged and devastating it was for Hosea to be chosen to reveal Your heart toward humanity, to be the one who would live out the expression of Perfect Love, knowing and experiencing both delight and gut-wrenching grief – the extremes of emotion that can only be known by one who has truly loved, but has been truly broken by it.
Join me in my weekly blog as I continue to journey God’s story through Hosea…
*Hosea was a prophet of God to the nation of Israel. It is where much of my journey of love was awakened. His story is found in the Old Testament part of the Bible. Read more here.