I wrote this for Mt. Rose's blog but wanted it here too.
Being married for just a little over three years, I am only beginning to see what a miraculous mystery I live in everyday with my husband, Joey. It is a beautiful mystery, but a mystery just the same and there is a part of me that gobbles up anything I can get my hands on about the subject in a futile—but always feverous—attempt to “figure it out.”
I may never (until paradise) “figure out” marriage, but I do believe God has shown me a few precious truths marriage rests in, truths that will hold me into and through the unknowns that lie ahead of Joey and me.
One of these truths that God has gently, though often painfully, shown me is that marriage is not about my own temporal, earthly happiness; rather, marriage is for His greater, infinite plan of redemption. Comfort is drawn from this truth only when my trust is in God alone; not in Joey, not in our “getting along”, but in God’s greatness, in His wisdom, and in His grace and kindness.
I decided to read Hosea the other morning, remembering I had liked the prophet for some reason before. It didn’t take me long to remember why: Hosea demonstrates in his own life the same love God demonstrates for Israel then and for us as His own now: a love that is unconditionally forgiving, even in the most obscene of circumstances. This love takes an enormous amount of courage; or rather, faith. It is a supernatural love that I can’t help but be drawn to, humbled as I am when I think of my own faith—weak as a mouse—when it comes to forgiveness, even for little things like a forgotten phone call or dirty dishes.
It is this supernatural forgiveness and love that is exactly what Hosea embodies after Gomer, his wife, continually commits adultery with a number of different men, paralleling Israel’s own unfaithfulness to the Lord. Hosea, like the Lord, with mercy and compassion I can hardly fathom, eventually takes back his bride and restores her to himself.
The “ah-ha!” moment for me came as my eyes were opened a little wider than before to the truth that marriage has so little to do with the seemingly reality that is present at the time and much more to do with the sovereign plans of the Lord who is working “all things together for the good of those who love Him” (Rom. 8:28).
Who would ever have thought that the Lord would compel Hosea to marry Gomer, when at the time of their wedding I am sure their future seemed so bright, so “normal”? The Lord knew the devastation that would take place in their marriage, and He knew how it would happen at the same time of Israel’s rebellion against Himself, giving Hosea an insight that he otherwise wouldn’t have known—or at least in such a personal way—into the heart of God: a heart that breaks when we go astray. A heart that pursues us until the end, and ultimately a heart whose love for us is so deep and so wide that it cannot help but restore those whom it loves.
It’s an encouragement to me on two levels: one, that God loves me with this same endless love. I am His and He is—in this moment and forevermore—restoring me to Himself.
And two, that no matter what happens in my marriage or in my life, I know God has planned and foreseen it all, no matter how big of a mistake it might seem in the moment, or even for years at a time. I pray for the faith to know, deep in my heart, that one day I will see the divine reasons; one day I will know without a pinch of doubt that this world and all its happenings is the Lord’s, and I will see His glory shinning brighter than the brightest of stars, even as this world fades away: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Is. 65:17).