Hosea 2:23 “I will plant her for myself in the land;
I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one. ‘
I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’;
and they will say, ‘You are my God.'”
Here we have the resolution to the names Hosea gave his children, and it is a beautiful picture of God’s grace. Thankfully, the NIV gives footnotes so that we can know that “Jezreel,” the name of the oldest child, means “God Plants,” and “Not Loved” and “Not My People” are the names of the other two children. God sometimes does/allows things that at the time might seem downright cruel, but over time we can see God’s gracious purpose in it all. There’s an old Southern Gospel song that expresses this very well, called “By and By.” It talks about the trials we go through and how confusing they can be, but keeps coming back to the assertion, “We will understand it better by and by.” Sometimes we hear the expression “3-dimensional chess.” Well, God is “playing chess” with essentially infinite dimensions, and He alone can do that. When we try to figure it out, we blow a fuse. That’s where faith comes in, the choice to trust God even when we have no idea what’s going on. Just yesterday I was talking and praying with a missionary friend from Hong Kong. The situation there is very concerning, and even the non-Christians understand that the actions of the Chinese government have a lot to do with persecuting Christians. As I said to my friend, it would be a lot easier to deal with it all if we had any idea how long it would last, but we don’t have any idea, so we have to trust God and seek to be obedient. As bad as the situation in Hong Kong is, there are other places that are even worse. We cannot know what will happen in the short term, or even what would seem from the human perspective to be the long term, but we can know with absolute certainty that Christ will triumph in the end, and those who are in Him will triumph with Him. When we have that assurance we can endure anything!
I have experienced various trials over the years, and some of them I can look back on and understand a good bit of what God was doing in allowing them. Some of them, I still don’t understand. However, I do have the growing assurance that God never makes any mistakes, regardless of how many mistakes I or those around me make. I still get tied in knots over some very temporary things, but at least I know how foolish that is! My human pride wants to know what’s going on all the time, but I’m coming to realize that it doesn’t matter that I don’t. Whatever the situation, I need to be looking forward with gratitude and praise toward whatever God is going to bring out of it all, because I know it will be glorious.
Father, I can say that, but You know better than I do that I’m not fully there yet. Thank You for not giving up on me. Help me not give up on myself, or on those around me. Thank You for the spiritual growth I do see in various people, including myself. May I indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as You told me to do, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!