Yes, I am skipping Music Monday today. To those of you who either don't like Music Monday or don't care, then you can rejoice. If there are any of you that actually like Music Monday, well, I'll get to it next week. And it will be good.
I actually wasn't going to post at all today. In fact, I just got out of bed to do it. I've been praying for some time tonight (in bed, of course) and I couldn't get this topic out of my mind, so I decided I should just get up and write it down before I actually fall asleep. Or type it. Whatever.
I recently finished reading Redeeming Love by Francene Rivers. I've read it before, but I brought precious few books over here, I don't have a library card, and that was one of the few novels my parents had lying around. So I read it again. For those of you who haven't read this popular Christian woman's novel, it's basically a retelling of the story of Hosea. God tells Michael, this young farmer (living in Old West California), to marry a prostitute, Angel. He does, and then he's in for quite the ride. Angel had been sold into prostitution at age eight and came with a lot of baggage. She didn't really want to be there at first, and she continually was running away from him. He kept trying to bring her back and assure her of his love. Just like Hosea, Michael's relationship with Angel mirrors God's relationship with us. We are always running back to the world, away from God, even though he offers us unconditional love, a better life, everything.
I'm sure that, like me, a lot of you have heard this before. I guess what really made it stand out in my mind tonight is when I attached it to heartbreak that I see in this world, in the lives of people I know.
Last summer, I worked at a camp with a dating couple. They worked in different areas of the camp and didn't always get to see much of each other. Even when they did, it was painfully obvious that something wasn't right. The guy was not that nice to her. She would ask him how his day had been or something little like that, and he would just brush her off. Although he was working hard at building relationships with other staff and his campers, he would never seek her out and work on their relationship. He basically abandoned her.
Their anniversary was during the summer, and the girl had been working all summer on this album of their first year together. When she finished it, she showed me and a couple others the finished product. It was beautiful, really. It showed them goofing off, dancing, him kissing her cheek, posing in front of the camp sign at the beginning of summer. While she turned one of the pages she said, "He used to like me a lot."
Oh! Such simple words, but the downcast eyes and slight hitch in her voice spoke volumes. I've never forgotten it.
It's been well over a year, but I can still hear her saying that. It plays back at me sometimes when I see a happy new couple, glowing with enthusiasm. He, too, once felt like that. When I see a girl crying over a recent breakup, I hear it. I definitely hear it when I learn about a new divorce casualty. They used to like each other a lot.
They broke up. Facebook told me that he's now engaged to someone else. I haven't kept in contact with her, but I wonder sometimes how she's doing. Did he break up with her (I assume so, since she was hoping to marry him)? How did it feel to learn he was dating someone else? Has she moved on or started dating anyone else?
This is just one story, but I think the sentiment is the same in many breakup stories. Whether it's a month-long relationship or a marriage, there is some degree of heartbreak involved in a separation. You believed in that person, gave them your love. You hoped that they would love you back as much as you loved them. Then the ugly truth becomes apparent, the beautiful dreams torn to pieces. They don't love you anymore.
God feels this way too. In the very beginning of time, Adam and Eve rejected God's plan for their life. Hearbreak. In Noah's day, God was grieved because man had abandoned him to live only for themselves. Heartbreak. In the book of Hosea (and most of the Old Testament, for that matter), all of Israel had traded in God for other lovers, their idols. Hearbreak.
This makes me wonder about my own life. Does God ever grieve over me? When I go for long periods of time without praying or spending time with him, does he miss me? When I'm wandering and ignoring him, does he ever say "She used to like me a lot"?
I don't want to break God's heart. I want to love him with an everlasting love. I want to make him glad that I love him back, that I'm faithful. As the old song goes, I pray that God "bind my wandering heart to Thee." Of course, I can only humbly thank God that he has a neverending patience with my failings. He is the ever-enduring lover, always welcoming me back with gladness when I return after a bout of unfaithfulness.
Thank you, God, for you know I don't deserve this. Thank you for your love and your patience to deal with the heartbreak I give you.
I love you.