October 24, 2007

Don’t Walk Away!

Mary Southerland

 

Today’s truth

Hosea 3:1-5 (NCV) The LORD said to me again, "Go, show your love to a woman loved by someone else, who has been unfaithful to you. In the same way the LORD loves the people of Israel, even though they worship other gods and love to eat the raisin cakes." Therefore, I bought her for six ounces of silver and ten bushels of barley. Then I told her, "You must wait for me for many days. You must not be a prostitute, and you must not have sexual relations with any other man. I will act the same way toward you." In the same way, Israel will live many days without a king or leader, without sacrifices or holy stone pillars, and without the holy vest or an idol. After this, the people of Israel will return to the LORD their God and follow him and the king from David's family. In the last days, they will turn in fear to the LORD, and he will bless them.

 

Friend to friend

A college man walked into a photography studio with a framed picture of his girlfriend. He wanted the picture duplicated, which involved removing it from the frame. When the photographer took the picture apart, he noticed an inscription written on the back of the photograph:

 

“My dearest Tom

I love you with all of my heart.

I love you more and more each day.

I will love you forever and ever.

I am yours for all of eternity.”

 

The picture was signed “Diane” and contained a PS that read, “If we ever break up I want this picture back!”

Love that never gives up has no “PS” in it. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:8 says, “Real love never fails”. In this verse, “fails” literally means “collapses, falls or disintegrates”. In other words, true love does not collapse under the weight of testing. It will not disintegrate when the pressure is on nor will it fall apart in the hard times. True love is strong, unconditional – God’s love – a love that we cannot understand or explain in human terms. The life of the Old Testament prophet, Hosea, powerfully illustrates this kind of love.

 

Hosea was married to a young woman named Gomer. Together, they had three children. Gomer blew it when she was unfaithful to Hosea, betraying the covenant of marriage. Hosea had every right to walk away, but love that never fails calls us up to higher choices that are beyond human reasoning. Supernatural choices demand supernatural action. And one of those choices is commitment. Read the choices Hosea made:

Hosea 3:1a The LORD said to me again, "Go, show your love to a woman loved by someone else, who has been unfaithful to you.

 

Hosea 2: 19-20 I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you mine.

 

Commitment is almost a foreign concept today. We want commitment to be easy and convenient, painless and cheap. Commitment is none of those things. Commitment never stops trying and never tries stopping. It is a pledge and bond, a covenant and contract. Commitment is a promise.

Cortes, the great Spanish explorer discovered what we know today as Mexico. He sailed in several boats with many men committed to conquering and settling an unknown land. When they arrived, the men looked around at an undiscovered world and were afraid. Cortes, sensing their fear, gathered them all on shore and set fire to their ships. He then announced, “Now there can be no turning back!” That is commitment; a choice never to turn back; a contract without escape clauses; a battle plan with no option for retreat. Love that never gives up can hold on because of commitment. It looks past the circumstance and locks its gaze on the promise.

 

Hosea had a decision to make. I am sure that his feelings told him to run. After all, his heart must have been broken. His home was on the brink of disaster. Hosea must have been angry and hurt, not to mention embarrassed by Gomer’s betrayal. Everyone knew what Gomer was doing. It had been going on for a long time. Hosea wasn’t even sure that he was the father of his second and third child. Hosea chose to stay because he was committed to God, to Gomer and to their marriage. Sometimes, being committed means sacrificing your own happiness for a time in order to redeem the relationship. God called Hosea to commitment – the first time in marriage – and now He calls him to show his love “again”. The word “show” means “to be a friend or ally”. Love that never fails focuses on the needs of others and chooses commitment.

 

Let’s pray

Father, it is so much easier just to walk away from a difficult relationship. But I know that is not Your plan. You did not walk away from me…and I am sooo difficult to love! Thank You for saving my life and for Your faithfulness to me. Help me to choose commitment instead of taking the easy way out. I can’t do it alone, Father. I need Your power and strength to make commitment a heart habit. I am ready! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Now it’s your turn

Right now, think of the hardest person in your life to love. Ask God to love them through you, to let you see them through His eyes. Write that person a note of encouragement this week. Every time that difficult person comes to mind, choose commitment. When you are frustrated and ready to call it quits, don’t give up! Can’t do it? Not alone. But in God’s power and grace…you can. Go for it, girlfriend!

 

More from the girls

I must admit that the story of Hosea and Gomer makes me a little uncomfortable. When I tally the score, Hosea has more than enough points to ditch Gomer. Instead, he not only loves her, but pursues her and forgives her even when she doesn’t seem repentant. That doesn’t seem fair to me! Love that never fails does not deal in fairness but in grace. We are never more like Him than when we love the unlovable. For more help, get Mary’s book, “Sandpaper People” and discover how to love the unlovable.

 

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