Thursday, March 27, 2014

He Bought Me Back

Late last night I wrote a blog post about refusing to quit. In that, I referenced a Jason Gray song called "Love's Not Done With You." One of my favorite lines in that song is this:

Everything's redeemable.
The God I know is capable.

EVERYTHING is redeemable.

That means that no matter how far gone you are, or how many mistakes you've made, no matter where you find yourself right now, the brokenness can be redeemed.

The pain can be redeemed.

Your heart can be redeemed.

According to Webster, to redeem is to "make something that is bad/unpleasant better." The definition I love is "to buy back."

The book of Hosea is my favorite book in the Bible. I feel like I am a modern day Gomer. At least, that is who I was. The book parallels God's own unconditional love for his bride, the body of Christ and it is a love that I am grateful beyond words to finally embrace.

Love for me.

Love for you.

And in that book, there is evidence that Hosea's wife Gomer was a prostitute when God told Hosea to marry her. Hosea obeyed, and time and time again, though Hosea loved Gomer with unfailing love, she left him. And time and time again, he went after her and brought her home. Does that sound familiar? God does that for us, doesn't he? Sometimes God does more than simply take us back. Sometimes we go back to our sin and instead of just dabbling in it, we become enslaved. That means that someone else is our Master. And that Master will not let us go without some form of payment. So, through the life of Hosea, God shows us what he will go through to take us home.

Then the Lord said to me again, "Gomer has many lovers, but you must continue loving her.
Do this becauise it is an example of the Lord's love for Israel.
He continues to love them, but they continue to turn to other gods, and they love to eat those raisin cakes."
So I bought Gomer back for 6 ounces of silver and 9 bushels of barley.
Then I told her, "You must stay at home with me for many days.
You will not be like a prostitute.
You will not have sexual relations with another man.
I will be your husband.
In the same way the people of Israel will continue many days without a king or a leader.
They will be without a sacrifice or a memorial stone.
They will be without an ephod or a household god.
After this, the people of Israel will come back and look for the Lord their God and for David their king. In the last days they will come to honor the Lord and his goodness.
Hosea 3:1-4 NLT

Fun fact:  the price that Hosea paid to take Gomer home is translated "the cost of a slave" in The Message.

The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 is another example of someone who was in slavery to themselves. The prodigal son took his inheritance from his father, though his father had not died, and he ran away. He spent years on the run, partying and living in sin. For a long time, life was good for the prodigal son. He lived it up. And then, the money ran out.

Maybe you are living with someone, or waiting for your own prodigal to return home. You see them living the way that their selfish heart leads them to live, in a life of captivity to sin. And it breaks your heart. And you just can't understand why you have to be so miserable, endure so much pain, while they "get away with it" and seemingly are happier than you have ever seen them. And you are left bearing the weight of responsibility for raising the children, paying the bills, and following God in the midst of heartache. You seem to suffer, and your spouse appears to be living it up, living carefree with no consequences for their sin. In your weaker moments, you curse their happiness and throw your hands up in the air screaming "Why?!? Why do I have to suffer like this? When will they be punished for doing this to me? When will they reap what they sow? They seem so happy while I am here suffocating from the pain."

But here is the truth: One day, it will come crashing down on them, either figuratively, or literally. I can't say how long you'll have to wait. I can't promise that it will be easy. But at some point, they will come to their senses. Either on their own, or because God has chased after them and brought them out of slavery, sometimes kicking and screaming.

Maybe the reason that it takes so long is because God wants to restore fully. Maybe he doesn't bring your husband or wife home yet because he sees the bigger picture and he wants you to experience true and LASTING joy. Maybe he wants you to wait until he has done the work he wants to do in your spouse's heart, because he wants to bring you someone who will no longer return to sin. Some of us are more stubborn than others. It took me running from God for seven and a half years. I rebelled against this idea that I had to wait for God to change Kris' heart and free him from bondage.

In my own pride, I became a slave to sin.

To a sexual sin, the sin of adultery - to a sin so similar to the one that I begged God to free my husband from!

All because I refused to wait for God to heal my husband completely. I believe now, though I wouldn't allow myself to accept it at the time, that God would have freed Kris from his addiction if I had remained faithful to him. God WILL keep his promises no matter how long we have to wait. Perhaps he would have healed Kris sooner if I had remained faithful to both God and my husband. But I was unwilling to stick around and see it through. And so in my own selfishness, I heaped shame, pain, and regret into our marriage; and I ran back to my captivity time and time again.

When the prodigal son finally ran out of money, was he surrounded by friends who loved him and would stand by his side when he had nothing left? Did those same friends who helped him spend all of his money take him in when he had nowhere else to go? If you know the story, you know that they did not.

He was alone!

The friends he partied with were gone.

You see, they didn't truly care about him.

And one day, starved and miserable with nowhere to go, the prodigal son found himself in a pig pen, willing to eat from the remains of what the pigs were fed. I imagine him with wilted vegetables in his hand, desperately searching for meaning in that pig pen when the scales fell off of his eyes. He "woke up" sitting there in the pit of sin he had created for himself, and he realized that even his father's servants lived better than he was living then. So he resolved to go home, knowing that his father would not forgive him, but willing to humble himself and beg to be a servant in his own home.

I can imagine what the prodigal son was thinking as he journied home. I imagine he was terrified and filled with remorse for what he had done. He was overwhelmed by shame, and believed that he was not worthy of his father's love. He had essentially spit in his father's face and implied that he wished his father was dead when he asked for his inheritance. He had taken from his father, and knew that he could never repay him. But the shame and the pain of his sin was a price he was willing to pay, by becoming a servant, to have food and shelter. He knew he wouldn't find restoration with his father. He knew that he could never undo the damage that he had done or heal the pain that he had caused.

No one was more surprised than the prodigal son when he was nearing home to see his father waiting for him. And I imagine the overwhelming feeling of confusion and relief and freedom he must have felt when, rather than waiting for his son to finally reach the land, his father RAN to him and embraced him. In that moment, all was forgiven. In that moment, the prodigal son experienced a love he never knew he could have.

I know that feeling.

Because I lived it.

I experienced it.

I still rest in it today.

That feeling of utter relief to finally be home. To be around people who loved him, and who were willing to look beyond his past to the man that he could become. To stand in awe of how good life could be and wonder why on earth he ever wanted to leave in the first place.

EVERYTHING'S redeemable.

Not because I am worthy. I am not.

Not because I deserve it. I don't.

Not because I can do anything to earn it. I can't.

Everything is redeemable because the God I know is CAPABLE.

God can redeem and restore even you.

Because no matter how far you have fallen, or how long you have lived in captivity to sin, Love is not done with you. That is what I want people to see through my story - that if God can redeem my heart and free me from bondage, he can do the same for you. I'm speaking this weekend at a women's prison again and I pray that God uses my story of hope and redemption to encourage those incarcerated there to believe that they are worthy of love, no matter how worthless or unworthy they feel.

They say nothing really shuts you down
Quite like shame
It kicks you when you're on the ground
Even with your good intentions
You always seem to lose against it
But love is taking it away now

It's not what you've done
It's what His love is doing
It's not who you were
Ir's who you are becoming
Have you heard that He makes all things new?
I believe His love's not done with you

They say people never really change
But I, I don't really feel that way
Everything's redeemable
The God I know is capable
And this is a new day

It's not what you've done
It's what His love is doing
It's not who you were
It's who you are becoming
Have you heard that He makes all things new?
I believe His love's not done with you

Love has conquered all your shame
I know you got things that you regret
But your story isn't over yet
It doesn't matter where you've been
Don't forget

It's not what you've done
It's what His love is doing
It's not who you were
It's who you are becoming
Have you heard that He makes all things new
I believe His love's not done with you
His love's not done with you
Have you heard that He makes all things new
I believe His love's not done with you


  1. Thanks for sharing sis......... now pass the tissues.......... I'll be praying for you as you go and share this weekend

  2. Hosea is my favorite Book the bible also, I highly recommend everyone watch the movie Amazing Love the story of Hosea it goes that deep in showing us the love of our Father God and showing us how to love people even when it hurts!!!!