Iam not sure what I’m doing here. Waves of humiliation, frustration, and love crash over me like an ocean determined to engulf the shore. That deep, powerful well of love that forced my feet to carry me here. The frustration and humiliation of reality are what cause me to pause. My fist hovers over the rough grain of the door but doesn’t knock. I hear the whispers ebb and flow behind my back as my friends and neighbors watch me. I hear the occasional snicker, uneasy cough, and shuffling feet…I feel my heart pounding in my chest.
Everyone knows what’s going on. They know that behind this door, the mother of my children, the one that I chose to save from a life of abuse and prostitution, the one that I gave my heart trusting that she would honor my gift, my wife…is making love to another man. Her actions stab the blade of scorn and humiliation into my heart, into my soul with each new lover she takes. Many of them are men that I’ve been acquainted with for years now. Friends from childhood, business men I’ve dealt with, neighbors I pass every single day. The cycle of betrayal has brought us here…to this fateful place. A debt unsettled results in her slavery. A command to love her despite it all brings me here.
Eventually, my fist cooperates and knocks a staccato beat against the door. Its report echoes down the narrow street and the symphony of sound from the crowd of nervous eavesdroppers decrescendos into silence. Moments pass before he opens the door. Her creditor, her violator, her master. Without a word, I pass him the purse holding over a year’s salary. He disappears from the doorway and returns quickly, shoving her through the door as he slams it shut behind her. She is wrapped carelessly in the remnants of a once beautiful gown. Still flushed from her betrayal, broken in humiliation, and trembling in fright she stands before me. What was a vibrant, beautiful young mother is now a husk of humanity. Malnourished, filthy, bruised, and broken, she cannot look into my face and instead studies the ground at her feet. Tears force their way past my clenched eyelids, streaming down my face until they fall to join hers in the dust of the street. I remove my cloak and wrap it gently around her, pull her close to my side and begin the journey home…My love is with me again! Joy and love rush through me and push aside the pain, relegating it to an ache in the background. I paid the price with gladness to have her back at my side and would happily do so again…My bride is coming home!
So is our relationship with our Creator. He has loved us, lavished gifts upon us, and offered us a future that we (literally) cannot imagine. Yet, time and again, we betray Him for something cheap, dirty, and temporary. We trade the purity of His eternal perfect love for the tawdry gratification that comes from worldly pleasures. We trade relationship with the Creator of the universe for the idols of this world. Before you argue that we don’t worship idols, let me remind you how idols are defined. They are, “any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration or devotion.” Jimmy Needham’s song, Clear the Stage, provides an incredibly simple definition:
“Anything I put before my God, anything I want with all my heart, anything I can’t stop thinking of, anything I give all my love, is an idol.”
As the short adaptation of the story of Hosea and Gomer, Hosea’s wife, (Hosea 3:1-2) above demonstrates, we need to stop being Gomers! The God of Creation stands at the door and knocks…are we going to open up the door and make the journey home? Or are we going to reject the opportunity of thousands of lifetimes, ignore His love, and turn back to the master that violates us at every opportunity?