"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. Hosea 2:14 NIV
In all transparency, I often feel I let God down - a lot. I know it sounds crazy because we know God’s love is unconditional. But disappointment is a frequent, unwanted guest in my heart. Because of this, I fall into God-pleasing - often unknowingly. Deep down I believe my performance and pursuit for perfection will somehow win His love. Thus, the Perfectionist-Trap!
What happens when I can’t seem to get things “right”, the enemy begins to shout lies of being a failure. This, unknowingly, pushes me to do more for God without actually having God in the ‘doing’. In my effort to please God and to be in a relationship with Him, I set unnecessary expectations for myself which pushes me to do more and more until my doing ultimately leads me away from being with Him. And at the end, I feel like a complete failure. Trap.
Has anyone else been in this place before?
I’m currently reading the Book of Hosea which is a prophetic picture of God’s character and redeeming love. Through His pursuit for our hearts despite our sin or our unbelief, we are wooed into His arms where we discover unwavering Love.
In verse 14, it says God will allure her [Israel] and bring her into the wilderness. In this verse, God is expressing His desire to restore relationships with His people; however, the wilderness doesn’t sound like a place you’d take someone to court them, right? When you think about going out on a first date, you don’t say “You know what would be really romantic? The wilderness!” That sounds like the beginning of a horror movie.
Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. v14
In prayer God spoke to me and explained that in the “wilderness” there are no distractions, no expectations, no unspoken rules. The wilderness is where your thirst and hunger grow - leaving you no other option but to turn to God. In the wilderness is where you leave all things behind, repent, and seek Him.
| In the wilderness, there is no noise - just the sound of His voice speaking tenderly to your awakening heart.
We go through seasons of our life that feel desolate. These times are not in our control although God works them out for good. What would it look like to willingly choose to be in the wilderness? The wilderness can be where we draw closer to God. Our wilderness can be created by striping everything away until only He is left.
What would choosing the wilderness look like for you? For me, it will look like fasting and unplugging from TV and personal social media for the next 5 days. Would you join me?
God’s love is patient, kind, and serene. It is not proud or self-seeking. It is not easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs. God’s love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). I want to devote myself to that kind of love.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for your unwavering and unconditional love. You not only desire to be in a relationship with us, but you allure us into your presence. In a world where so much is stealing our affection, God I pray you will arrest us with your tender, relentless pursuit. I pray your people will choose to walk in the wilderness with you and our ears will be attentive to your voice. Set us free from the sin and weight that so easily entangles us. Reconcile us back to you in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
Written By: Ashley K. Stovall