Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Mon, 07/12/2009 – 14:24
Bible Book: Hosea
Verse: 1 – 11
Can God understand a human being’s distress? Can He understand my pain? – Especially the pain that comes from being disappointed in love? We all know that the emotional pain of a broken heart can be just as intense as any physical pain. C S Lewis once said that to love deeply brings with it the danger of being deeply hurt.
In Hosea 11 we find a most comforting answer to these questions. God can indeed understand our pain, the hurt of a broken and rejected love. He understands this because He is a loving God. He loves his own with a passionate love. But His love is rejected, broken and trampled upon by his people – over and over again. God understands pain and distress because his heart is continuously broken by our sins. Listen to God’s cry in verse 8. “How can I give you up, O Ephraim! How can I hand you over, O Israel! How can I make you like Admah! How can I treat you like Zeboiim! My heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender.” In anguish He cries out that, although He has good reason to destroy Israel completely, his love cannot bear the thought of it.
Hosea 11 gives a testimony of the anguished heart of God. But it goes even further: it says that in the end God’s love creates new opportunities for Israel. It seems as if Paul is making a summary of Hosea 11 when he cries out in Rom 5:20b: “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more”.
There is not a simple, straight line to be drawn from God’s merciful love in Hosea 11 to what we should do when our love relationships have been broken by unfaithfulness. Sometimes a relationship has been broken beyond what we as humans can do to restore it. But Hosea 11 reassures us: God understands. He feels with us. He shows his abundant love especially in the context of our human failures. And his love creates new possibilities.
When our hearts have been broken, we can at least explore God’s new possibilities for broken relationships.
To think about (or discuss): Can you understand your neighbours pain when there has been unfaithfulness, and this only becomes known after an HIV test?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)