I dated about 85 guys in high school.
It wasn’t my fault…I followed the “wise” advise of a godly woman. (Wish you could hear the sarcasm in my voice!)
She recommended dating a fellow until you discovered something about him that you couldn’t live with, then moving on.
Since most of the guys I dated weren’t Christians, it didn’t take more than a date or two. They swore, were too fresh, weren’t interested in going to church, or were too self-centered.
I think my record was four months.
Do you know what I learned from all of this?
How to be a divorced woman!
I feel sorry for my first husband. We only knew each other for three months before we were married, and it didn’t take long for me to discover something about him that I couldn’t live with – after we were married!
Are you surprised that our marriage lasted about eighteen months?
The problem with the “wisdom” imparted to me by this well-meaning woman is that it carried over to my relationship with Jesus.
I began “dating” Him when I was twelve – after a bout with alcohol that hurt my mom and my aunt. How else could I prove that I’d “turned over a new leaf?”
Jesus was the hardest “guy” I ever dated though, because I didn’t really know Him. The “Jesus” I thought I was in a relationship with was very demanding. He had a long list of things I was forbidden to do, and “insisted” that I spend every free minute I had with Him.
In addition, He had a long list of things that I must do, if I was going to “keep” Him as my steady.
The only reason I didn’t dump Him during those five years was that He was my claim to approval and acceptance by the people who attended my church. Apart from Him, I didn’t have anything to offer anyone.
He probably didn’t “dump” me because without His presence to steady me, I would have gotten myself into a ton of trouble as I sought acceptance from the wrong crowd! I was definitely a “Gomer.” (from Hosea)
When my marriage began to fail, I “broke up” with Jesus. I was sick and tired of trying to please Him – and my husband, the church, my family, and friends. I had enough of trying to make people like me, and of giving up things I liked to do in order to be accepted.
Leaving them behind, I joined a group that wasn’t hard to please at all. We were all such “losers” that none of us thought to critique the other’s behavior! Whatever a person did (aside from stealing) was accepted. So long as one was willing to get drunk, stoned, or high, it was all good.
Churches could learn a great deal about grace from stoners!
Hosea helps me to understand my story with Jesus. I was, indeed, very much like Gomer (except that my other lovers were booze and drugs).
I desperately needed to be loved, and looked for it in all the wrong places.
Jesus was supposed to be the “safe” one with whom to have a relationship, but He turned out to be such a “cruel taskmaster” – one who demanded my allegiance – that I ran away from Him and went back to where grace flowed freely.
How wrong I was! Like Gomer, I didn’t understand Jesus’ love for me. I didn’t realize that who I perceived Him to be was not truth. In my ignorance, I overlaid the template of what I knew a husband and father “were” over Him, and assigned to Him characteristics that were so wrong.
Despite my lack of faithfulness to Him, He continued to pursue me. He ransomed me from many slave blocks, where my soul was being sold for a pittance.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” I understand these words, for they have been my experience.
In Jesus I have a Lover and Friend who will never leave me nor forsake me. He lavishes His love on me.
In Him I have all the acceptance and approval I could ever want!
Yes, there are times that I discover something about Him I wouldn’t want to live with. (i.e. You want me to forgive them? Are You crazy? I can’t do that!) Instead of running away, though, now I stick it out and work the matter through with Him.
I have contentment and peace!
I know the pits I fall into when I run! I don’t want the humiliation of being rescued from them anymore.
With my new identity, I no longer need my old lovers to provide the security I long for.
I am my Beloved’s and He is mine.
Today I can say:
I am a blood-bought child of the Lord Most High
I was chosen before the foundation of the world, and have been
seated in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, and
sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit.
He’s the “down payment” guaranteeing that one day I’ll be taken Home!
Knowing this, why would I want to crawl back into a bottle of booze?