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When Loving Is Difficult

I have loved you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

When you first married, what were your expectations? Did you go into your marriage with a realistic understanding that no relationship is perfect and that happy marriages require commitment and continual hard work? Perhaps you entered marriage with the dream of perpetual bliss. If so, how long did it take for your dream to be shattered?

In the book of Hosea, we see a very difficult marriage played out. At some point, Gomer betrayed her husband, Hosea. She began going after lovers for what they could give her—temporary things that perhaps she thought would bring satisfaction.

Gomer bore three children, and their names, given by God, are quite significant. Her first child, a son, was named Jezreel, which means scattered. Her second child, a daughter, was name Lo-Ruhamah, which means no mercy or unloved. The third child, a son, was named Lo-Ammi, which means not my people. 

These names parallel the effects of sin upon God’s people.  They specifically parallel the fruit born from adultery in marriage. Adultery gives birth to scattering. An injured spouse naturally withdraws because of hurt and distrust. Adultery results in the betrayed spouse feeling unloved. The sense of oneness and family is greatly damaged or even destroyed.

Perhaps you identify with these feelings, for you have been betrayed. Have you given up on your marriage? God told Hosea to do something else, which perhaps was even harder. He said to Hosea, Go show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress (Hosea 3:1). This unconditional love is a picture of God’s love for His people. He has loved us even though we have betrayed Him time and time again.

What is God asking of you regarding the spouse who has betrayed you? Is God calling you today to extend unconditional love? Is God calling you to forgiveness and reconciliation, whether your marriage is restored or not?    

Lord, help me love those who have hurt me deeply with Your enduring, profound love! Amen.

Jan Burkhart

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