Part 1: devotional by guest blogger and Bought Beautifully Board Member, Theresa Miller
Have you ever considered God to be your first love, only to become distracted somewhere along the path of life?
Have you ever considered the deepest longing of your heart being that of God wooing you back to Himself, and the trials along the way preparing you for that relationship?
As Christians, you and I are considered Christ’s bride. We are in a marriage covenant with Christ, the head of our marital union, who gave up His life for us, His bride. He rescued us from slavery and paid the ransom by dying in our place to ensure our permanent freedom in Him. The ultimate demonstration of love.
There is a story in the book of Hosea that gives us a clearer picture of His love for us and offers powerful reminders to us even today about the endless pursuit God has for us individually and as his church.
In the story, Gomer is a prostitute and God tells Hosea to rescue her, marry her, give her a home and love her. Hosea purchases her freedom and loves her completely. Yet, Gomer leaves Hosea to run back to her former life and relationships, more familiar with a lifestyle of prostitution than the radical love given her by her husband. Hurt and angry, what is Hosea to do? Wash his hands of her and say he tried? Oh, he was justified to do so. But, no. God summons him to go after her again, and again, and again.
The way God pursues us again, and again, and again.
He pursues us because like Gomer we are easily distracted and quick to forget. We’ve forgotten that He’s the one who rescued us, we've been distracted from one who has given us our daily bread, and we've forgotten His promises of life led with purpose in an intimate relationship with Him.
We’ve forgotten because it's often easier to fall back into the comfort of following our idols, or even just keeping them around. Our idols aren't necessarily made of metal or stone, but rather anything we’ve placed before God in our day-to-day life; people, power, circumstances, dreams, fears, etc.––the objects we’ve fixated on and prioritized instead of setting our hearts and minds on Christ.
And yet, in the midst of our forgetfulness, He continues to pursue our hearts. He reminds us that none of the objects we put our faith in can profit us. He allures us because He loves us. He keeps His promise of faithfulness within a marriage covenant, despite our tendency to wander away.
Hosea's story is a profound picture of God’s abounding love and mercy, designed to magnify His free gift of grace, rather than the abandonment that we deserve. When He pursues us and we respond, His love doesn't leave us the same...
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Hosea's story doesn't stop at being just a bible story or a devotional focusing on our one-on-one relationship with God. This same story line: reckless pursuit of love, bringing hope, redemption, and a pathway out of the commercial sex trade is being walked out everyday around the globe through Bought Beautifully partners and countless other organizations.
In the same way God pursues His bride, as with the example of Hosea and Gomer, Bought Beautifully has the honor of partnering with ministries and organizations worldwide who are living out love stories very similar to Hosea’s. Bought Beautifully pursues partnerships that are serving the vulnerable and rescuing those on the margins of society and culture ––regardless of whether these people have been forced into prostitution (slavery), have chosen it due to economic circumstances (desperation), or fall back on it as the only life they've known.
Bought Beautifully's partners believe God has a fuller, more beautiful life in store for these people and have committed their lives to showing them their worth. They are meeting them on the streets, in the brothels, caring for their children, PRAYING for them, providing them counsel and ultimately, providing sustainable job opportunities and pathways out of prostitution and poverty. They are wrapping love and support around them so that they know their inherent value beyond their circumstances.
This can be full of heartbreak, sadness, and rejection, as it was for Hosea. However, with persistence and obedience, it is also full of redemption, grace and transformed lives.
And this is the gift: we––you and I––can be a part of this storyline as we respond to God’s love personally and globally when we stand up and support the work of others who are living out love through their work.
Check back in tomorrow where we highlight one of our partners, Rahab’s Rope; their work in India and their stories of transformed lives.
Also, stay tuned for Part 2 of the Pursued by Love devotional coming next week.