Return to Your God
Open Your Bible
Hosea 12:1-14, Psalm 135:13-21, Revelation 19:11-16
I am a recent and reticent convert to hiking. Moving from the flat Midwest to a state of unending mountains, there’s a certain peer pressure to become a more outdoorsy girl—the type who likes to hike. The problem is that hiking sounds wonderful to me in theory, but the reality of slowly trudging up and up and up is not always as fun.
So a couple of hours into a spontaneous hike with my husband, I was ready to be done. Tired, hungry, and lost, it felt like we were getting nowhere and only increasing our chances of being eaten by a bear. Growing “hangrier” by the minute, I convinced my husband—at this point, probably more afraid of being eaten by me rather than a bear—to head back.
About fifty feet back down the worn path, a woman came walking in the direction we had just abandoned.
This woman had hiked these woods before, and she knew the mountaintop was just out of sight, beyond the ridge. She assured us the view from there was absolutely breathtaking and worth every inch of hiking heartache. How could we give up now, knowing we were so close?
Feeling a bit foolish, we did a 180-degree about-face, and with renewed hope in our step, we ascended to a clearing. Sitting in silence, staring out at mountains for miles, I realized what we would’ve missed if that woman had not encouraged us to keep going.
In our walk with God, it can be just as easy to get distracted, tired, and lost along the way.
Do you ever feel like you’ve drifted too far from God to ever come back? Maybe you’re lost in the forest and don’t know just how close the mountaintop really is.
The book of Hosea reminds us that even when we are unfaithful, God is faithful. Even when we’ve given up, God pursues us. Our God called Hosea to take an unfaithful wife and be relentlessly compassionate toward her. This demonstrates God’s character and just how much He loved wayward Israel—how He loves us, too, rebellious sinners though we are.
God declares loud and clear: there is nothing you can do to lose the Father’s love (Romans 8:31–39).
It can be difficult for us to grasp the unfailing love of God because it seems so counterintuitive to the way we operate out of our humanity. When we’re hurt, our instinct is often to hurt someone in return or withdraw our love altogether. When people disappoint us time and again, we start to give up on them. To think we can hurt and disappoint God endlessly, yet He still draws near to us, is unfathomable!
Our Lord isn’t some begrudging judge, waiting for us to shape up on our own. He comes to rescue us, helping us turn back to Him (Hosea 12:6). He is the loving Father, running unashamedly toward His prodigal child (Luke 15:20). He is the Good Shepherd who goes off in search of just one lost sheep (Luke 15:4).
Sometimes the climb is tedious and disheartening and downright painful. In those moments it’s tempting to give up and turn away. But what we might not be able to see through the trees is the most magnificent view up ahead: our gracious Father, extending His arms and calling us home.