I needed some encouragement this morning, so I went to the greatest source: the word of God. I decided to open up to Hosea, in hopes of learning something about prostitution that could encourage me with Tenele’s situation, because Hosea was commanded by the Lord to take a prostitute as an unfaithful wife. There are similar themes and situations that remind me directly of Tenele.
I started reading the introduction to the book, I already grew encouraged. The parallel between Hosea’s redeeming love for an unfaithful wife to the love the Lord has for unfaithful Israel is incredibly moving. Referring to Hosea’s obedience in taking an infidel as a wife, the author writes:
Having suffered infidelity in his marriage, Hosea acknowledged that in his own grief he could begin to appreciate the grief experienced by God. In being spurned by the person he loved most, Hosea experienced what God experienced. Imagine. Hosea could empathize with the Lord and come to appreciate the love God had for his people (Gene Giuliano Jr.).
While Hosea was in a far more painful position than I am with Tenele, I still can relate to this. While I am pained over Tenele’s situation—when she lets me down over and over again or when she rejects the love and help I try to offer—it is a blessing in disguise, because it gives me just a sliver of an idea of how painful it must be for the Lord. How incredible to empathize with the Lord, to endure a taste of what he must feel and to truly learn to value his unconditional love. After all, it’s not me that Tenele is rejecting, but it’s the love of the Lord that she runs from. It would be so much easier for me and less painful to just let go of Tenele and forget about trying to help in a seemingly hopeless situation. But then I remember Hosea’s obedience and faithfulness and how he did not quit. When his wife ran off again to continue in prostitution, the Lord commanded Hosea to go after her to demonstrate further how “the Lord loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods (3:1).”
As I wept for Tenele last night, I can only imagine how many tears the Lord sheds for her; and not only her, but for EVERY single one of us who turn our backs on Him, over and over and over again. I cannot fathom the pain he endures. I cannot fathom his forgiveness for our infidelity. In this introduction to Hosea, Giuliano captures the absolute pain an suffering of infidelity:
“Infidelity may be the source of what is arguably the most agonizing emotional and psychological pain that human beings can suffered. Its heart-breaking betrayal feeds on lies and deceit. And to forgive its occurrence is personally demanding and, often, seemingly impossible. The act of infidelity, unfaithfulness, tears relationships apart and renders the heart of the offended partly shattered and the soul emptied.”
To love one person after enduring this type of pain is incredible in itself, but to continue to love a world of people after they deliberately reject you, hate you, spurn you, throw your love back in your face, or prostitute themselves before you… that is an incredible love I cannot fathom–a love that moves me, a love that inspires me to continue to love Tenele no matter what “result” I get.
How blessed it is to share in the sufferings and redeeming love of our Lord.