This morning I woke up to my beautiful boy asking me to read a note I had written for him last night. It said, "I love you today with all that I am. Tomorrow I will love you more than I do today. The day after that, I will love you even more. And so it goes."
He's getting a baby brother in about six weeks, and has mixed emotions. Of course on the one hand, he's incredibly excited, as any big-brother-to-be would be, but on the other hand, he's a little worried, as any only-child-for-the-past-5-years would be. For the last couple of days he's not been himself -- he's been more disobedient than he would be, normally. He's even said a couple of times that he's worried that we'll love the new baby more than we love him. He's also been more needy, telling us that he's "feeling lonely" if he's made to wait more than 30 seconds for us to come to the table to put a puzzle together with him.
It's normal, I know. It's a big adjustment for him, and after talking with a friend over coffee yesterday, it was clear to me that what our 5 year-old needed was some open, honest conversation about what to expect when this new little person comes home to stay. So before bed last night, he and I had a really good talk about it all, and he went to sleep feeling comforted.
Later, as I was looking through Instagram, I came across a young mother's post about how she couldn't love her little girl more. Smiling, I commented that she'd love her daughter more tomorrow, and the day after that she'd love her even more, and so on. Then of course it hit me that this was a truth I needed to share with my son. He was asleep by then, so I wrote it down for him on a little note so he'd see it as he was getting ready to leave for school. Like I said, he came into my room and asked me to read the note to him, and as I read it, I could practically see his heart smiling.
What does this have to do with Hosea?
While it's emotional, sometimes harsh, and always convicting, Hosea is a reminder to me of just how much God loves us.
God loves us today with all that He is. Tomorrow He will love us more than He does today. And the day after that, He'll love us even more. And so it goes.
His love never fails. His love never fades. He has loved us from the start, with a very powerful, stubborn kind of love. Much like the kind of love we have for our own children.
Just like my son, when we feel alone, nervous, or anxious about our lives, sometimes we act out. We forget that we're loved. We forget that we're forgiven and righteous in God's sight, through Christ, and we live only for ourselves.
And, just like fathers (and mothers) on earth discipline their children when they act out, our Father in heaven disciplines those He loves when they act out! It is because He loves us that He disciplines us.
But like She Reads Truth said, "the beauty is in the return". When we return to God, our Father, repenting with humble and honest hearts, He has compassion on us. He embraces us and reminds us that He still loves us -- He never stopped loving us. Through our tantrums, through our whining, through our stubbornness and self-sufficiency, He loves us still. He's reaching out to us -- calling us to return to Him.
I become angry when my son acts out. It's frustrating -- to both him and to his parents -- that he feels alone and anxious because of something as joyful as a new baby. He's such a good kid! He's so kind, he's got a servant's heart, he's got so much love in him, but before we had our talk last night, he didn't know what else to do besides to act out in response to his emotions -- he may not have had the language to express what it was that he was truly feeling, so the only way he knew to show it was to behave differently than he normally would have. He was testing our limits -- testing our love.
And we do the same thing to God.
But like I said in a past post, "as ugly as my sin is, I do not have to become ensnared by it. I AM NOT MY SIN." Verses like 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 tell us that "[we are] different now; [we] have been washed clean, set apart, restored, and set on the right path in the name of the Lord Jesus, the Anointed, by the Spirit of our living God."
We have been so loved. We have been redeemed. And only our God, our Father, has the capacity to love and forgive at such a price.