The past four months have been a season of weddings. The showers started back in June and the last wedding is at the end of the month. The brides and grooms have been preparing: marriage counseling, gift registries, menu selections, dresses, tuxes, travel plans, associated parties, the details are endless. The energy and resources behind all this are great and the anticipation grows as the big day draws near. By the time the happy couple is at the altar, they are beaming and fairly trembling with the excitement and nervousness of the enormity of what they are doing. Veteran married couples watch and may fondly remember their limited understanding of those vows when it had been their turn. Single guests may feel a touch of sadness and wonder when their day will come.
Once vows and rings are exchanged, the celebration begins. Then comes real life and the living out of vows in the decades to follow.
Imagine Hosea’s disappointment when God instructs him to take a prostitute as his bride. When his heart longed for the intimacy of his wife, she would be off in another direction. Could he take pleasure in the children born to him? And yet he was called to pursue Gomer and love the woman who turned her face from him. I like what Eugene Peterson says about this parable in The Message,
God loves us in just this way—goes after us at our worst, keeps after us until he gets us and makes lovers of men and women who know nothing of real love.
God, thank you that you chose me to come to the altar and that you continue to patiently pursue me, even when I run from you. I pray you continue to draw me closer and teach me to love as you do. Amen.