Open Your Bible
Hosea 1:2-3, Hosea 2:5-23, Hosea 3:1-2, Psalm 144:2
I don’t want to write this. I don’t want to talk about how much I relate to this adulterous woman who spends her life running after other lovers, but reading Gomer’s story changed my life when I was in college and it’s changing me still today. So…here we go.
I grew up in the Church and in a family full of Jesus-loving people. I knew God loved me, but if I’m honest, I didn’t believe His love would be enough for me. So I spent the better part of my life saying “Thanks, but no thanks” to God, doing things my way, searching for my worth and identity in relationships with guys. They did the same thing with me, and we straight up broke each other.
By the end of my senior year of college, I was left feeling used, discarded, unloved, unwanted, and unworthy—and that is right where God found me and whispered through the story of Hosea, “I am the one true lover of your soul. I will NEVER leave you or forsake you. Even though you’ve been running hard and fast in the other direction, I am going to pursue you and love you forever.”
I couldn’t believe God wanted anything to do with me. I knew better, had made terrible decisions, and yet here He was saying I was chosen, beloved, forgiven, and pursued by Him! Like Gomer, I was a picture of the wayward Israel, chasing other gods and other loves, when the true God pursued me and purchased me as His own (Hosea 3:1-2, 1 Cor. 6:19-20).
That was the beginning of my love affair with Jesus. I tasted the sweetness of the Gospel— a love I didn’t deserve and that I could never earn—and I was ready to follow Him to the ends of the earth.
Almost a year later, I went on a first date with my best guy friend from college whom I swore I would never date. God has a sense of humor. We knew each other well, and Drew had watched me break and experience the kind of healing only Jesus can offer. On our second date, Drew sat me down and said, “Ellie, I’m crazy about you and I want to love you really well, but I’m just a man. I’m going to fail you, disappoint you, and hurt you. Of course I don’t want to do any of those things, but I’m only human. So I need you to run as hard and fast as you can after a relationship with Jesus, because He is going to be able to love you far better than I’ll ever be able to, and I want you to be loved the best.”
What he said rang so true. I had learned by then that we were all made to be in a relationship with Jesus, and anything we put in place of Him, even good things, will leave us frustrated at best and devastated at worst.
I had been devastated, Sisters. And it was there in a desert of shame that the Lord, our great Pursuer, came to beckon me from the Valley of Achor (which means “trouble”) to hope—just like he did for Gomer (Hosea 2:14-15).
Gomer’s story reminds me to return to Jesus. It reminds me to let go of the idea that anything else will satisfy or complete me, and to take hold of the promise that His love is more than enough for me.
May we remember and rejoice today that the One true lover of our souls will never leave or forsake us, but will pursue us and call us His people (Hosea 2:23). May we exchange all the lesser loves in our lives for the best love we’ll ever know.
“He is my faithful love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer.
He is my shield, and I take refuge in Him…”
– Psalm 144:2
Ellie Holcomb is a singer/songwriter with a deep love for creating music rooted in the truth of God’s Word. Named New Artist of the Year at the 2014 GMA Dove Awards, Ellie offers hope for weary and wounded hearts in her scripture-rich album, As Sure As the Sun, and her version of Amazing Grace can be heard on the She Reads Truth Hymns EP. Ellie and her husband Drew, of Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, live in Tennessee with their daughter Emmylou.