There is a major drought in California. Yes, while the rest of the country is saturated with precipitation this winter (believe me, I hear it from my family in Chicago…and I was in Chicago for the first polar vortex…how many are we on now?), California is thirsty, the ground parched, farmers’ livelihoods hanging in the balance. The drought is so intense that the governor of California declared a state of emergency.
Today, it rained.
As I write this–the night before the link up–I can hear the whoosh of cars driving through the rain on the busy city street I live on. I happen to like city noise and nothing is better to sleep to than the wet city noise of San Francisco, but I digress. Today the skies turned gray and rain poured from the clouds and it’s still going. It’s apt that I finished the Hosea study today.
I love this book so much; I remember the last time I studied it was the summer after my senior year of college and I drank it up thirstily then too. This time I was so struck by how fickle and sinful I am and how perfect, merciful, just, and loving our God is. Most importantly, the chasm between those two realities is bridged by Jesus on the cross.
I valued how this study on Shereadstruth kept urging us to remain grounded, that it’s easy to look at Israel and say: get it together, people. I have definitely done this at other points in my life (lost patience with Israel as I read) but this time, going into this study, I was in a state of emergency. There was a major drought happening.
I kept writing in my Bible, this is me, next to verses like: “Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; as his country improved, he improved his pillars” (Hosea 10:1).
This is me. The better I am doing physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, the more idols I build and allow in my life, the more I nurture those idols, the more I protect those idols.
“Ephraim feeds on the wind” (12:1a).
This is me. I feed on the wind, those things that will never fill me up.
“…you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors” (10:13b).
This is me. This is me. This is me.
“And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal” (Hosea 2:7)
This is not me. I did know. Maya Angelou says that when we know better, we do better. Well, I can’t tell you how many times God has gently and tenderly wooed me from the pit, a pit I got my own self into, where He clearly shows me: Nina, you know the only thing that truly satisfies you, deep in the soul, is Me. You keep looking for that satisfaction in other places and you already have it.
I have a pattern. God is faithful to me in the pit. He rescues me. I am in a state of emergency and He feeds me and nourishes me. I depend on Him for everything. I am deep in the soul satisfied. I find my sea legs again. Things start to go my way and I just literally turn my brain off. I want you to picture this with me. There is this beautiful, good, funny, kind, just man (aka the perfect man). He is on his knee proposing to me and I am smacking my gum people watching, looking at other bros. Ew. right? Me. Right. I wish I could just pound my head against something. The pattern is completely predictable. There is no other ending if I keep doing things this way. I always end up in the metaphorical pit.
In college, I remember reading that those are the two most important words in all of scripture.
I love that Hosea answers the questions it poses. How does God love us when we are like this? Because he is merciful. Why does He allow the consequences of our sin to overtake us? Because He loves us.
(I mean, seriously. I am not a parent but that has got to be the toughest thing…when your child, whom you love, messes up and you could technically remove the consequence but you love him/her too much to do that because you have the wisdom to know that loving him/her means letting them experience the consequence…Even though it would be easier on you and your heart to remove that consequence because loving parents are not gleeful when their kid is sitting in a mess of consequence. They hurt as if they are right there in the mess, if not more so. I loved how the devotionals from Shereadstruth pointed this out).
And the Rain comes.