Don’t you know, I am.
Not I was, not I will be. I am.
I am your God.
I am your Savior.
I am your Friend.
I am good.
Don’t you know, in Me, you are.
You are beloved.
You are treasured.
You are validated.
You are worth dying for.
You were lost. Scared. Reckless.
You don’t need to be anymore.
I met a woman recently, at the very park I’m sitting at now to write this. After hearing our jam session, ending with the old classic, ‘How Great is Our God,’ she approached my friends and I with her daughter, wondering if we were Korean. We may have disappointed her a little with the fact that only one of us was Korean, but it was enough for her; she proceeded to ask us what church we all go to. Once that door opened, all her church-related pain flooded out, to the point that none of us really knew what to say to her, whether to stop her. We’re all a little awkward like that. We just knew we needed to reach out to her.
You are a beloved child of God, no matter what you may think of yourself or Him.
Echoed in my mind, I desperately waited to voice these words of the Spirit to her. Beloved. Worthy. I will not give up on you. Exactly twice my age, and a self-proclaimed seasoned romance expert, she cautioned me against finding validation and commitment from guys. As I heard her story of broken relationships, I neglected to listen. Listening is psychological. It is internalizing, empathizing. All I managed was to find the obvious answer to her problem – JESUS. It’s Jesus you’re looking for! Why can’t you see that only He can take away all the hurt? Don’t you know nothing can fully satisfy you, not even your daughter?
The greatest distance on earth is between one’s mind and heart. I can know, but not understand. I can hear, but not obey. With the mind, we decide, but with the heart, we actually act. Hearing this woman, I could prescribe some Jesus to heal her. If I had truly listened to her, it wouldn’t have taken until reading through Hosea a few weeks later to see that the woman I met and I are the same. We both turn to guys to solve our problems, committing adultery in the process. Adultery is against God – God, You’re not enough for me, so I’m going to run after some guy to give me the love I so thirst for. After walking with God for the past few years, shouldn’t I know better by now?
I do know. I just don’t understand. I don’t understand how He could possibly love me. I don’t understand why I keep sinning against God. I don’t understand how I can be so good at something I hate so much. My relationship with guys is like how I (hopefully I’m not the only one) feel about fast food – such a good idea in the moment when I’m starving, and the more I eat it, the more I want. But after it’s devoured, I feel sick to my stomach and mildly guilty. I promise myself it’s the last time. But the next time the craving hits, I forget what happened the previous time, and the vicious cycle repeats. Each little guilty pleasure may not seem that bad in the moment, but over time, they add up, and I don’t see the consequences until it’s too late. Just as fast food is just a cheap imitation of real, fresh food, the love of some random guy in my life is a cheap imitation and replacement of God’s love. It just feels so much easier to find.
Jeremiah may be called the ‘weeping prophet,’ but I think Hosea may also have the right to claim that title. Not only had all of Israel turned away from God, and Hosea was tasked with telling them to turn back, but to illustrate God’s pain, Hosea obediently took Gomer, a promiscuous woman, as his wife. Hosea knew exactly what kind of baggage this woman would come with. He knew her tendencies. Even when she ran off with another man, Hosea forgave her and took her back. Being forgiven for cheating, for breaking the trust – this is the scandal of love: Almost too good to be true, but when it is true, there’s nothing better.
All things work together for good [Romans 8:28]. Hindsight is the greatest gift for the wounded heart. I no longer regret the past. Each failed fling only wetted my thirst for something greater, something that could actually satisfy, someone who could actually take away all the pain and give me a new start and purpose. Even when I can’t commit to God, He has already committed Himself to me. While I was, and am, still a sinner [Romans 5:8]. I may still be the rebellious child, running away over and over again, but He is always patiently waiting at home, leaving the porch lights on as a beacon to guide me back.
So come home running
His arms are open wide
His name is Jesus and He understands
He is the answer you are looking for
So come home running, just as you are
[‘Come Home Running’ – Chris Tomlin]