Redeeming Love

redeem (verb); to free from what distresses or harms; to free from captivity by payment or ransom; to release from blame or doubt.

My sister-in-law gave me the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers for my birthday. I know I know, I've been wanting to read this for ages and I'm so glad I finally have it. Through my first few weeks of marriage, I have learned loads about redemption. I've contemplated the meaning of redemption in my own life, and I've sat in amazement of God's redeeming character, and I've been humbled by the people in my life (Chris especially) who have taken on this characteristic and served me despite my flaws.

As most know, this book is a retelling of the book of Hosea. Hosea marries a prostitute by God's demand; but he does not just marry her, he loves her..he is IN love with her, and he is called to love and serve her despite her "need" to be used by men. He deeply cares for her, and just as I love Chris and long for what is best for him, he feels the same towards her. I've read Hosea before, but never did I contemplate the weight of the matter. First of all, Gomer had to have had a pretty disastrous past in order to end up in this type of business. Whether it was in the family, whether she ran away to flee from family pain, whether she was always homeless and needed to earn a living..The fact of the situation is that there is not an individual out there that could get joy out of this kind of work. She had to have been broken, numb, empty inside. She also had to have been known and recognized by members of the community which means that Hosea constantly had to defend her past to individuals who questioned their marriage. How do you explain to your good neighbors that this girl is fit to be a wife? And the fact that she fled back to her old ways multiple times gives you an insight into what their first bit of marriage was like. She clearly could not accept Hosea's love. She was clearly desensitized and numb; not being able to consider the fact that a good man would actually marry her for her heart and want nothing to do with her body.

Through Hosea's pain and longing for his wife to accept his love, his gifts, and his grace, we are shown a greater picture of God's deeply intimate love for his people to turn from their ways and choose what is good and freely given. It is such a perfect picture of the destruction of our mistakes on our lives, emotions, bodies, and spirits. We seek comfort in earthly objects when everything we need is pursuing us at all times. And it is perfect. It is so good. And it is Love.

All this to say..this book of Hosea, and Redeeming Love are such good reminders of how He has released me from blame and doubt. And He not only loves me through the spirit, but he loves me through Chris each day. He has provided a husband for me who desires my heart and sees past my flaws and mistakes. It's kind of amazing.

Not to mention, I can't help but wonder if I would have been one of those neighbors to question Hosea's choice of a wife. How often do I judge others without attempting to see them through eyes of Love? How often do I forgot that God saw Gomer, a prostitute, as a beautiful bride that needed to be pursued..and pursued......and pursued? There are a lot of things in this world that people see in black and white, but are actually made up of varying shades of grey. Each with a story, a past, a background. Hosea's marriage must have looked like a complete joke from the outside. But everything is not as it seems...

God is sovereign. I am not. He knows the depths of every single situation. I do not...(and repeat.)