Perhaps this title is too telling, too transparent with my inner most desires; arrogance might be the word that comes to some. Truthfully my heart is hard after maximizing the learnings of these 40 plus years of both church and community service. God forbid that the pain of full play in both go without benefit to those behind me.
So, I find myself processing again this morning as I conclude the Book of Hosea. Hosea so captures the heart of God, a Being in love with humanity, yet so committed to leading them toward wholeness.
“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:1-3
These ancient proses so capture the heart of a loving God, perhaps even foretelling the sufferings and victories of Calvary, particularly in verse number two. God, like a well-disciplined parent, reveals the challenges of a nation that blatantly disregards holiness, while withholding no corrective action that would benefit their redemption,constantly salting the situation with hope and promise.
The beauty of the Word is its enduring personal relevance, for I too have had moments like those described graphically in Hosea, as a wild donkey in heat! However, much of Hosea’s message is focused on the Nation of Israel. It strikes me this morning how much individual behavior and spiritual neglect eventually shapes the culture of a nation. We in the United States may finally be in a position to hear the words of Hosea. We seem more than ever pressed by circumstances toward the need for national repentance, hopefully positioning ourselves for the blessing purchased for us by God Himself through Christ Jesus. That alone is the crux of Christianity, the Good News of the Gospel.
My life seems in flux as well right now, as I work to close down the distractions that my own efforts have created, while opening my heart to any means God might chose to share lessons learned when appropriate and helpful. Life, at any age, is too short to do otherwise.
We live in a time when global conflict is intense, with our own nation more divided politically and socially than ever before. I wonder if the two are related and some big picture event, such as described in my former blog as an apocalypse is in fact on the horizon.
I also wonder why I am so intimidated at this late age, overly careful not to rock the boat to the degree, that I am discredited. Yet, history tends to honor those willing to do so. Is it honor I am after or just truth? The latter, if I know my heart.
I am alarmed by the scriptures, but such has been the case for generations. Should I dare speak as if I understand Theology, able to unravel prophecies that better men than I have wrestled with for centuries? The proposition in my faith has always been that the Word of God was written so clearly by the Holy Spirit that not even a “wayfaring fool” could err. Certainly I qualify.
Something is going on much higher than the office of any one man, and now far beyond the control of any one government. History is in the making for sure. Breakthroughs like the normalization of relations with Cuba, even the intervention of the Pope don’t happen just every day.
Without a doubt there will be political criticism of our President, as politicians jockey for position in the 2016 elections. These men and women profess to have the future of our nation at heart, but I am no longer certain.
What about Putin’s statement this week about Western relations: “They won’t give up because they will always try to chain it,” Putin said during his annual press conference in Moscow, comparing Russia to a bear protecting its territory. “As soon as they chain it, they’ll rip out its teeth and claws.”
Could the Bear from the North be coming back from its most recent hibernation, flexing her muscle against the West, triggering additional woes at a time when our economy is just beginning to recover? Is this somehow a part of what prophets for centuries purport, a time of suffering like no other?
In the midst of all this, may I remind you again of the hope we have in Christ:
“Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” Hosea 14:9