I once heard someone say that all of our problems are really problems with God. At first I thought that the statement was a little simplistic, but the more I think about it the more I think it has an element of truth. After all, we have an all-powerful and all-loving God. He’s greater than the forces of darkness, and even greater than our hearts (1Jo 3:20). Most of our frustrations boil down to our struggle with obeying or trusting God.
There’s a passage that really reflects the power and mystery of our relationship with the Lord, and our quest for a better relationship.
The prophet Hosea has been writing to Israel, pleading with them to follow the Lord and warning them that their disobedience was leading to disaster. Because they had not listened and returned to God, discipline was coming. Would Israel finally listen, or would they continue in rebellion?
After the terrible visions of judgement and horror that Hosea has seen, it’s as if he stops short and holds out his hands to plead with the people he loves, in a beautiful piece of poetry -
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.
No matter what we’ve been through – seemingly senseless sorrow, the consequences of our own sin, life in a fallen world – no matter what we’re facing, that’s not the end of the story. The end of the story is an almighty God of love who calls us to return to Him. His healing is waiting for us. But sometimes it’s a journey – we must look for the Lord (even though He’s not really far away). It’s a hard journey. And in the end, it’s not us that will find Him, but He will find us. His coming is as certain as the change in seasons.
The mystery in this passage is incredible. Why has God torn? Is there an allusion to Christ’s resurrection (on the third day) here? How can we live in His sight? Is this God’s coming at the end of the age to make all things right, or is He coming to us personally, to heal and lift us up? When is He coming?
I think all these points are mixed together in these few verses. Our own lonely struggles, the rebellion of Israel, God’s plan for all mankind, the cross and resurrection, the glorious return. There’s no differentiation here between “head knowledge” and “heart knowledge” – it’s all the same thing. We are broken people longing to know His truth and love. And we must have an unshakeable hope – that God can heal today’s pain and the pain of a lifetime. If we seek, we will find (Mat 7:7). We will know His presence. Be ready. He’s coming.
Note: This post is part of a project at Missionary-Blogs.com. A number of missionaries are posting about their favourite passages this month, and the results will be on the website later in February.