(Newspaper column for Letterkenny Post)
Along with the Baptist church in the town we gave out a calendar to many homes in the town. The theme of the calendar is “God is Love”, and each month has a different verse from the Bible on this theme.
March’s verse is Hosea 14:4 “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely.”
Hosea is one of God's preachers in the Old Testament. He is a man who hurts much because his wife sleeps around with other men and everyone knows it.
And Hosea is called by God to demonstrate a faithfulness and patience that is utterly beyond the call of duty. He is to wait, he is to love, and he is to rescue his wife. Out of his own pocket he buys her back from another man – paying for the one who is rightfully his.
Hosea’s life is a real life parable of God's love for his people in the Old Testament. They were his people, he showered love on them, but they rejected him over and over again. They chose false gods rather than the God who had rescued them from slavery in Egypt. And yet he didn’t wash his hands of them, but waited, pursued and loved them.
This verse comes at the end of the book where Hosea’s wife has returned to him, and God is now speaking about his own unfaithful people, and he says, “I will heal their waywardness, and love them freely.”
Perhaps you feel that your chequered past excludes you from God's love. Not so – God says here that he will welcome anyone who turns to him, no matter if they have paid as scant attention to God as Hosea’s wife did to Hosea. And more than that, God says he will pay the price to rescue you, and he will love you with a love that is beyond measure.
There are no hopeless cases with God. There is a welcome awaiting anyone who turns to him.