Perhaps one of the most difficult stories in the Bible to comprehend is found in the book of Hosea. Allow me to set the stage for you. Hosea is a young prophet who receives some crazy instructions from God. In Hosea 1:2 God instructs Hosea (the preacher) to go marry Gomer, who at the time is a prostitute. Before I move on, do I even need to stop and point out the absurdity of this request? Not exactly a great way to start your ministry. Both religious and grace crowds would have a hard time swallowing Hosea’s actions.

At first things are ok between the Gomer and Hosea. Gomer becomes pregnant and gives Hosea a beautiful son. However, life in the suburbs began to wear on Gomer and she begins to reminisce about her wild and free days in the city. While Hosea is away on a guest speaking tour Gomer hires a sitter and ventures back into the city. She runs into an old “acquaintance” and quickly finds herself being lavished with the best hotels, clothing, and restaurants the city has to offer. Her fling ends with a second pregnancy test that turns up positive. However, this time the baby in her womb does not belong to her husband.

The couple struggles with the reality of infidelity and slowly begins to drift apart. One year later Gomer, feeling lonely/bored goes back to the city again and meets another former client. To add insult to injury, she becomes pregnant for a second time with a child that does not belong to Hosea. After the second baby, Gomer leaves Hosea with the three kids and moves back to the city. The guilt of her actions push her to drugs and deeper into the dark world Hosea had pulled her from. Gomer’s addiction leads to a quick downward spiral and she finds herself in jail on drug/prostitution charges.

Once again, God tells Hosea to go buy her back and show her the same type of love he had from day one. He sales some items passed down to him from his late grand mother and bails her out of jail Hosea 3:3.

Not sure how many men or women could model this type of compassion on a spouse? Why did God ask Hosea to do such an absurd thing? The answer is simple…He wanted you and I to know the same love/mercy Hosea showed Gomer is available to us. Regardless of how many times we mess up, how many times we fall flat on our faces, He welcomes us back with the same love He had for us when we entered relationship with Him. Doesn’t mean there will not be consequences for our actions, does not mean people will not get hurt, but it does mean that He loves us and will always pursue us even when we hurt Him.

What is love? Love is the relentless pursuit of God on our behalf when we do not deserve it. Love is giving second chances to people who let us down. Can we love like Hosea? I will be honest and say that I do not know if I am there? However, I pray God teaches me to love His way.