This morning, I found myself deep within the pages and story of the book of Hosea – an Old Testament prophet of God who was chosen to step into the extraordinary plans that God had written out for his life. A man of God called to marry a harlot. A humble life of submission to display the unconditional love of God for His people. Just breathe that one in for a moment.
I can hardly imagine walking in obedience to such a calling. If I’m 100% honest with you, I wouldn’t want to. I don’t think I would willingly sign up for such a life of hardship, betrayal, and heartbreak. I just wouldn’t. But Hosea did. He was a man of God, a prophetic mouthpiece of God to a sinful and wandering people. He spoke truth. His message to Israel was one of rebuke and a call to repentance. And he married a whore.
If you’re not familiar with Hosea’s story, take a few minutes to read the first chapter of the book of Hosea. In eleven short verses of Scripture, we meet Hosea, and we’re introduced to the call that God placed on his life to marry an unfaithful woman, to father her children, and I bet you can’t help but wonder, “Why on earth?!”
Hosea forces us head-first into the conversation of suffering. Why does God allow it? Even more pressing, why does God allow the righteous to suffer? Why did God ask this godly man to embrace such a painful road? And why was Hosea’s obedience one of leaning into the pain?
No matter who you are or where you’ve come from, the common denominator between us all is that we experience and know the weight and sting of pain in this life. We just do. It’s not a pretty truth or a desirable one, but it is truth. In this life, we will suffer. We will hurt. We will bleed. We will be wronged. Some wrongs will go unpunished and without justice. Why?
What could the purpose be in all the pain? Could it possibly be growth? Could it perhaps be maturity? Could it even be for our good?
To lean into the pain.
In the leaning could come a deeper trusting. In the trusting could come a more consistent faithfulness. In the faithfulness could come a fullness of joy.
Could it be? To lean into the pain could produce a fullness of joy? Joy, unspeakable joy, flooding our hearts when the waves of pain seem all too consuming. Joy sprouting up from the dry, cracked, and desolate ground of our lives. Joy emerging from the brokenness. Joy shining through the darkness.
Could it be that an Almighty God who spoke all that the eye can see into existence, a loving Father who formed you and I from the dust, a gracious Savior who spread His arms wide on a brutal cross…could it be that He calls you and I to lean into the pain of our circumstance because He knows that glory, hope, and joy await us on the other side?
Could it be? And could we, for just one moment, assume it is possible that our God knows no limits? Our God can do immeasurably more than we could ever imagine. Our infinite God is not measured by our finiteness. Could it be?
To lean into the pain.
Sweet Jesus, give us courage. Make us brave. Cause these dry bones to come to life again. Call us away from the safety of the shore into the waves, the waters upon which we might walk. Give us faith. Cause our eyes to see you. In obedience, if you’re calling, may we lean into the pain knowing that you will catch us when we fall.