I recently reread the book “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers. I read it many years ago when I was still “doing church”, and, not yet, understanding “true relationship with Christ”. I enjoyed the book for its love story quality back then, but truly fell in love with its biblical teachings this time around.
(Before I go any further, if you have not read this magnificent book, stop everything right now and go read it! Yes, now…because this post will have spoilers in it. Then you will regret not reading it first, and I will feel bad for ruining it for you. So…save us all this heartache and go read it…then come back here!)
In this story, Francine writes about a man named Michael Hosea, who truly has a heart for God. He has been faithful to God and praying for God to send him a wife for many years. One day, he sees a woman who immediately captivates his heart, and God tells him that this will be his wife. Come to find out, she is a prostitute. Michael questions God, “I have been faithful to you, and you send a prostitute to be my wife?” However, being the man of God that he is, Michael begins to pursue her, and, eventually, he marries her.
His wife’s name is Sarah but she does not reveal this to him right away. Throughout her life as a prostitute, her name is Angel. Michael does not think this name suits her so he calls her many different names throughout the story.
Because of all of the lies that she has been told about herself and the things that she believes about herself, she continues to run back to her old life over and over and over. Each time, Michael pursues her and brings her back to his (their) home. Until the final time that she leaves. At that point, he knows that she must return to him on her own. He continues to love and pray for her everyday, but he no longer actively pursues her.
Michael’s love for her was pure and faithful without expectations or pretense. I caught myself falling madly in love with Michael! Oh, to have someone love me the way that he loved Angel!!! Oh, to have a Michael Hosea!!!
After finishing the book, I began to study the book of Hosea. I am in absolute adoration of how the Bible continues to come alive to me. While studying Hosea, everything clicked! Hosea is all of our stories. We all tend to “prostitute” ourselves when we trade an intimate part of ourselves to something that is temporary…whether its our time, our thoughts, our love, or our bodies.
The more that I read, the more that I realize how intense God’s love is for us. When we ‘prostitute’ ourselves to the things of this world, He continues to pursue us and call us home. He has always wanted us in His arms, in His home, in a reconciled relationship with Him!
When I was searching for my identity through partying and men, He patiently pursued me.
When I searched for my identity in success, approval of others, awards and acknowledgments, and the need to acquire more and more material things, He no longer actively pursued me but did not allow these things to give me peace.
There was always an underlying discontent because I was settling for less than I was worth. We do this when we allow negative thoughts to overtake us. We do this when we fill our bodies full of junk food. We do this when we settle for relationships that do not direct us first to God.
Much like Angel, I would continue to go back to my old life…to my old sins…because I had believed so many lies about who I was. I would go back thinking that, this time, I would find peace because I would finally fill the dark, empty places in my heart. Each time, much like Angel, I would secretly wish that He would rescue me from myself. I secretly wished that He would wrap me up in His arms, and I would finally…FINALLY…feel safe in this world.
It wasn’t until I looked my sins straight on that I was able to truly surrender my life to Him!
“Being found isn’t as beautiful if you don’t admit you were once lost” (#shereadstruth)
Then…and only then…was God able to show me where I belonged. Only then, did I realize that HE was my Michael Hosea…
And HE was offering me true redeeming love!
This is something that He offers to all of us but we must be willing to accept it!
(If you would like a really great Hosea bible study, go here —>#shereadstruth )