During my journey to find my purpose, to find what Jesus really means to me, I’ve been meandering somewhat without direction. I’ve come to some great revelations about the Bible, about God and about myself. But I’ve sat back wondering, am I getting any closer to what my goal was? Am I discovering what Jesus means to me?
As God usual does, he’s provided an answer, without me even realizing it. The current sermon series going on at our church is about the relentless love that God has for us and out of that love, his unending pursuit of us. As Hosea 2:14-15 says,
But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her out into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.
Can you love the unloved?
Last weeks sermon (which can be found at – https://vimeo.com/143556735) entitled “Hosea: Go Marry a Prostitute” speaks to this idea of loving the unloved. We find in Hosea 1:2 that God gives Hosea an incredible task;
When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so some of her children will be born to you from other men. This will illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me, openly committing adultery against the Lord by worshiping other Gods.”
So what did Hosea do? Well exactly what God wanted, he went and married Gomer, a prostitute.
Now, I stopped and asked myself…what would I do? I seriously doubt God will ask me to marry a prostitute as I’m already married to a wonderful woman. But what if God asked me to love someone that no-one else has? What if it’s a family member that everyone else has given up on? Could you invite him over to dinner? Or maybe it is that homeless guy that lives under the bridge on your way to work? What if God asked you to be his friend?
What if you’re the one that is feeling unloved?
Do you feel unloved? There are times when we may all feel that way in one way or the other? But I know that I’ve lived a dream of a life compared to many. I came from loving parents, both of which were greatly involved in my life and still are. My siblings, while we’ve had trouble like most siblings do, we still love each other. I married a wonderful woman and have four awesome children. God has blessed me greatly.
But there are many that are not so lucky. Through circumstances and choices made, they’ve not lived the life like I have. They’ve not had those the loved them, in fact many have lived a life feeling unloved. The video shared in the sermon, but not included in the video above because of copyright restrictions is of Annie Lobert. Annie, is a former prostitute, who struggled in that lifestyle all the while battling drug addiction and cancer. When she hit bottom and on death’s door from an overdose, she realized that God was pursuing her and has been all along. She cried out to Jesus, who saved her from certain death and restored her. She found peace and Love through Jesus.
She has since been called to minister to those other ladies, still stuck in that lifestyle and has founded Hookers for Jesus. Annie has found the love and acceptance in Jesus that she was seeking in the sex industry. Watch her testimony, it’s powerful.
So what does this have to do with my own journey?
I haven’t lived the life Annie lived, nor gone through even a fraction of what she has. But our daily struggles are all to real for each of us. No matter how deep our Valley of Trouble is, God is always right there with us. He’s always there if we’d just let him in. He relentlessly pursues us, no matter what we’ve done or how far we’ve strayed. He is always right there.
Can we share with others the love of God, until we’ve received it ourselves? Can we truly love people like God loves us if we don’t accept His love first? Can we share with others that which we don’t have ourselves?
Hosea loved his wife unconditionally. He loved her despite her background or past transgressions. He loved her despite her future transgressions or failings. Annie loves the girls still stuck in sexual slavery, because she knows what it’s like to feel unloved and she wants to share with them what she has already received, the love that Jesus is giving her. Throughout the Bible God shows us that he loves us unconditionally and throughout the Bible, his people rejected his love…but he simply loves us where we are and no matter what, he simply loves.
My thought for the day: No matter where I’m at in my life and no matter my past, God is there for me and loves me as he always has and always will.