A Mission that Will Self-Destruct in Ten, Nine, Eight…
My daughter and her friend spread watercolor pigments, paint brushes, drawing pencils, and textured feathery paper across our dining room table.
|Photo Credit: Flickr user Mike Wallis, Creative Commons cc license
“Mom, can you click on the Nutcracker Pandora station?” she asks, just a few bars into a Vivaldi song. Tchaikovsky must feel more inspirational to her tonight. The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies wafts through the room, and conversation caves into reflective brushstrokes.
I open my computer screen and turn to words, my preferred mode of art. And these words have been running through my head all week since seeing them buried in an ancient Old Testament Bible book.
In that history, God has pulled a prophet (these men and women who have been chosen to speak God’s messages) into a heart-wrenching assignment. The mission, if he chooses to accept it, is to experience God’s heart on a gut-level intimacy.
Hosea took the mission and stepped knowingly into the pain, but I cannot imagine that lessened the agony. His mission? Marry an unfaithful woman, knowing that she’ll keep running away from you. Woo her again and again. Don’t give up on her, even when she chooses other men, and falls into a life of prostitution.
Throughout the years, Hosea pursues her, speaking tenderly to her, and welcoming her home. “Stop this other life. Leave these men.”
Eventually, his wife, Gomer, has become enslaved. Bringing money, Hosea pays the price to free her from the debt and lovingly brings her home.
Stringing words together in fluent poetry, God delivers the punchline: This is how humans treat me. This is how my creation responds to me. But, more importantly, this is how I feel about them. “Therefore I will now allure her. I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her,” a deep-voiced God says about his people, his world.
Turning to Hosea, God explains. My people should return to me. My love for them is unending. His cue, and the phrase that has been running through my mind all week, is this:
“Take words and return,”
I find that powerful.
Have any rifted relationships? With people? With God? Take words with you and return. Say sorry. God promises: I will heal you and love you freely.
Besides… his love has been chasing you already. Through the streets, through your stories, and through your storms, he has been following, saying, I will lead her and speak tenderly. I will allure her with a never-stopping, never-giving-up love.
My daughter and her friend have picked up the brushes, turned off the music, and left the room. God’s art, however, swirls and eddies on in vibrant color.