Deep down, the desires of our heart is to have someone love us so completely that they will never leave us. The cynics say it’s impossible. But what if it isn’t?
I’m going to start off being frank (that’s always the best way to start off anyway, right?). I am a 28-year-old, single woman with a tremendous passion for ministry and missions. Spending my life in God’s service is forefront in my mind and since writing is one of the voices He has given me, I love what I do. But in getting to the core of me as a woman, I have to admit that I share the same longings as most women, to meet a good man, marry and raise a family.
And why not? It is after all what God created women for and that which will fulfill us most.
The longing for a good man to want us, to care for us and want to protect us is a good longing, a natural longing, one that God created us with. The reality is we will never quite achieve what we long for this side of heaven. However, the desire nonetheless remains and in searching, serves to point our hearts to God.
The Perfect Man
During morning devotions the other day I came across a beautiful love story. The passage described the exact kind of man we all wish we had: strong but kind-hearted, patient but intensely purposeful, passionate and eager to protect those he loved.
This, ladies, was the perfect man! Who doesn’t want that? Here was the type of man we could trust with our hearts, feel comfortable baring our souls to, trust he would understand, be at peace resting in his embrace. And most importantly, a man who would never “fall out” of love with us.
In the story this man was a prince in nature whose subjects adored him. But his heart was broken. He had betrothed himself to a woman who didn’t love him, (what we might call his first mistake). She was like a grimy slave, unable to recognize her good fortune. He was ready to protect, love, and give her everything she needed. And yet she despised him. (Read the book of Hosea, especially chapter 2 and 11).
People advised him to give up on her, to let her go and choose a more worthy bride. But he would not because he truly loved her. He cried through tears of pain, “How can I let her go knowing she will only hurt herself again?” (Hosea 11:8).
I don’t know about you but at this point my heart was breaking for this man. What kind of woman was this?! She had to be blind not to see that all she ever wanted was right there for the taking.
She could have had beautiful things to wear but she chose cheap, flashy clothes and gaudy jewelry.
She could have had a home of her own and good nutritious food to eat but she chose not to settle down and lived off of scraps that her many lovers left for her.
She could have had love, protection and understanding but she chose men who would use her and care less about who she was as a person.
What kind of woman was this, to be so ignorant and so blind?
Turn around and look in the mirror. There she is! In you, in me.
Our Passionate Lover
You see, this isn’t poetry. This man really does exist. This wonderful, dream-come-true lover is Christ and He has betrothed Himself to us (2:19). He feels passionately about us, longing to protect and care for us. He is jealous of the foolish and sinful things that we give our attention to. We disgrace him with our careless choices but he will never give up on us. If only we had looked behind us when we made those foolish choices, acted selfishly, treated others cruelly, we would have seen His grief.
When we reject Him, refuse to trust Him, and try to provide for ourselves He cries in anguish, knowing the pain we will feel at the consequences.
Our Jealous Lover
The symbolism doesn’t stop there because He is not a lover who just sits by, whimpering like a rejected pup. Just as He warned the Israelites through His prophets in ancient days, He gives us the same warnings. Scripture shows us He is a just God; He will punish sin. But at the same time, He gives us every opportunity to choose Him before it’s too late.
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent,” (2 Peter 3:9 NLT).
Hosea 11 describes a beautiful imagery of God as our Father, calling us to Him when we are lost, holding our hands as we take our wobbly, childish steps, nursing us back to health when we are sick, removing chains of slavery. He longs to nurture us if we would only give Him a chance.
Our Personal Lover
One of the biggest fallacies that we as Christian’s believe is that God is rather impersonal. How do you think He feels when you or I have turned away a gift He has given us for something of our own making? Let me tell you how He feels, “My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows,” (Hosea 11:8). He hurts!
Parents can well understand this as they watch their children pay the consequences of their disobedience. From another perspective, all of us have had people treat us unjustly. When someone you love abandons you or neglects to lend a helping hand when you are in need, it’s painful. It hurts!
It is our choice. Do we want to accept the hand of God our Lover and His promise to love and care for us with His strong arms and a passionate heart? You will not find a better anywhere else. Surrender your heart to Him and let Him give you the good things He desires to give His bride.
Remember: even if we choose not to accept Him, the offer still stands and will continue to stand. He never gives up on us.