Safe within the ark

No matter your background, your past or current religious affiliation we all know the story of Noah’s Ark. Humans finally mess up to the point that God regrets making them so he sends rain onto the earth for a full 40 days destroying everything that he had made and killing everyone and everything in the process. Everyone except of course for one man and his family named Noah. God loves Noah because he walked his entire life with God, he treated God as if he were a close friend and when the rest of the world turned away he turned towards him and God rewarded him by giving him an escape plan from the coming destruction. He instructed him to build an ark that would save him, his family, and 2 of every ‘kind’ of animal. He gave specific instructions as to the dimensions of this ark and Noah followed the directions to a T. The rains came and Noah and his family survived because of the grace of Gods grace towards them.

We all know the story, did it actually happen? Who knows, I am not concerned about that, what I love is the truth found within the story. It’s a truth that I can hold onto even now. It’s a truth that before, when I heard the story as a kid I didn’t latch onto but now as a man with the history that I have I can.

The story is that life with God is much sweeter than life without, because no matter what happens in this life you’re always safe in the ark.

Now what exactly is that safety? Does that mean that life is always going to go my way? I don’t believe so, do you think life always went Noah’s way? Do you think that he felt safe following instructions from an invisible God that he couldn’t see? Building a boat while on lookers mocked him and laughed? The story says they stayed in that ark for over 100 days, I doubt that felt safe. No dry land, no food save for what they were able to gather before the floods came, I’d probably wonder if I’d end up dying on that ark.

Kind of like how life is when living with autism and an anxiety disorder

Life is not safe, I know this as well as anyone but there something beautiful that happens when you are safe within the ark of Christ. It doesn’t matter what happens.

For the last year I have dealt with one ailment after another. I’ve had unexplained dizziness, I have had chronic shoulder pain that comes goes but never fully goes away. I have had digestive issues and panic attacks and good ole fashioned generalized anxiety. I have had allergies so bad that it feels like I swallowed a golf ball. Some days are better than others but I don’t feel all that great. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been noticing knee and hip pain. less than 2 weeks before my 36th birthday and I feel as if I am literally falling apart.

But you know what? It doesn’t matter, because it is so much better than it used to be.

Back in my 20’s I didn’t feel like I had any major ailments. I was carrying 360 lbs on my bones, ate whatever I wanted to, drank whatever I wanted to, I gave into my every hedonistic desire and drank deeply from the cup of pleasure. It is probably because of some of the escapades that I am dealing with some of the things I am dealing with now. You can’t treat your body like a garbage disposal and expect it to hold out forever. But back in my 20’s I felt restless and fearful and disconnected and angry and unsafe. I felt like there was nothing to live for save pleasure, there was nothing real, there was only every individual moment. I had less pain but more angst.

If I had to choose between living free of pain but also free of God or the life I have right now with the ailments I’m dealing with but also with the peace of knowing God I’d choose this life every single time. It doesn’t even compare. It doesn’t matter what happens, I could lose my house, my job, life could fall apart all around me, I could even drop dead but it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter

I am safe within the ark

Jesus will see me through every trial, right on through till he calls me home.

Nothing that this world could offer me compares.

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Things that have changed.

I have been a dedicated Christian for 3 years now. It has not always been easy and I’ve fought a few things but I can easily say I’ve been on this road for three straight years and couldn’t be happier about it. If you are a Christian for any amount of time there is a lot of discussion about character that takes place. It’s been one of those things that I haven’t really understood mostly because there is so much emphasis on our effort to change in many Christian circles. What must I do and not do in order to be counted as a Christian. Sadly this totally misses the mark of grace and the power of the cross. Character is important and it’s a discussion we need to have but it need not be about our own effort to change but rather how we’ve changed regardless of our effort as we have drawn nearer to God. I’d like to illustrate this by sharing some of the areas I’ve noticed changes in my life without really trying to change.

  •  I am much slower to anger: I’ve always had a notoriously bad temper especially when things aren’t going my way. I have been known to curse people out in my car when they cut me off, laying on the horn. I’ve kicked and thrown a few trash cans in my day and I’ve broken things. Not things I am proud of but a part of my brokenness. I’ve noticed, without really trying that I am a lot more patient. I’m more patient with other drivers, with general situations in life and most surprisingly I am more patient with myself.
  • Going out to have fun is much less important to me. I loved going to shows, going to karaoke, hanging out at bars and having a good time. I am not opposed to these things but it’s much more common to find me hanging out at home watching a movie with my wife or hanging with friends in their homes. I still get out to sing some but the definition of what a good time is has drastically changed recently.
  • I’m someone who can enjoy a beer, I’ve been known to advertise that face quite a bit. I’ve also been known to post pictures of me drinking a beer or some whiskey but as I’ve grown close to Christ I’ve also become aware of my influence to people I care about. I’ve got a few friends who can’t drink and I have no desire to become a stumbling block to them so I don’t talk about my drinking like I used to.
  • The way that I watch movies and TV and even listen to music has changed. I still enjoy lots of different types of entertainment but I am more apt to think about what I consume. Shows like Family Guy which I used to find really amusing don’t do anything for me anymore. It’s not that I feel like I can’t watch certain things or even that I shouldn’t but I;ve just lost the taste for crude humor.

All of these things which have changed without me working on them. They aren’t areas that I feel like if I didn’t change them I would be in trouble because such thinking again nullifies grace which is free and not earned. The Christian life isn’t about effort it’s about trust. The more I trust Christ the more he renews my character and identity into what it was always supposed to be.

 

What about you? If you are a Christian, what are some area’s that God has transformed you? If you aren’t a Christian what are some area’s that you like to see change but are having trouble?

Confession: Writing about me

I have a confession I would like to make. This might seem like a strange thing to admit but I am hoping that it will make sense. I have the hardest time writing about myself. I love writing but I mostly like sharing my views and opinions on things. That style of writing seems to come easy to me albeit the way that I write can sometimes come off as a little stiff. It’s comfortable for me, it’s something I can easily slip into. But when I write those posts, most of which I am fairly proud of I don’t get a lot of readership. Time and again I have asked you guys what you want to read about and time and again the answer is almost uniformly the same. You want me to write about myself. You guys want to see posts about what it’s like to be me and go through the day to day of being me, dealing with the things I deal with. ‘

The problem is I am not that good at writing about that.

I see most day to day life as pretty mundane, and I find a hard time making that interesting. I wake up, I come to work, I work, I go home, I hang out with my wife, I go to sleep. Sometimes there is a band practice throw in or I have something going on at church but it’s pretty basic stuff. I have a hard time making that stuff seem interesting but that’s what my readers want to read.

I think another reason I have trouble writing about myself is because my internal life, the world of my fears and dreams, is pretty messy. It’s comforting to try and put some distance between that side of myself and you, my reader. Over the years of keeping a blog I’ve shared some pretty private thoughts and I’ve regretted some of the struggles that I have shared. But on the flip side of that when I do share some of the messy parts of my life I ultimately end up helping someone. I guess it’s true that it helps to know that you are not alone in the things that you are dealing with.

I recently had the chance to preach to my family at The Village Church and my sermon was about something that is all to real to me, anxiety. As someone with autism and an anxiety disorder some level of anxiety is present in my life on a daily basis. I was candid about my issues and I was just as candid in how I feel God has address those issues in my life. It was hard to share some of that stuff but in the end my comfort wasn’t what was important what was important was that people had a real encounter with the holy spirit while I spoke and that hearts were led to repentance. If the holy spirit can used my messy life to change other peoples lives than the sacrifice of comfort is worth it every time.

So perhaps I need to work even more diligently at being more personal on  my blog, to not only share the things that I think about but to share the real and honest story of my life. The good and bad stuff. That seems to be what people want to read and that also seems to be the words that God uses to encounter others. I will try and do better at this in the future.

Misfit?

Ever since I was a kid I had this sense that I wasn’t quite like other people that I knew. The things that drove me weren’t like the things that seemed to drive others, the things that were important to the world weren’t always in line with what I held as valuable. For entirely too long this distinction made me feel less than human, it made me deeply regret who I was and it made me hate what I saw in the mirror.

I believe that a lot of this comes from the fact that I am autistic, and like it or not autism has shaped who I am and how I view the world.

The other day I was watching Mercury Rising which is a fun romp of a movie if you’ve never seen it. That’s not the only reason I like it though, I like it because it has a kid that reminds me a lot of myself. It has a kid who has autism as the focal point of the picture. At one point the Bruce Willis character asks if autism means that “nothing gets in” to which a nurse corrects that in fact “EVERYTHING gets in” and that we(those of us who are autistic) have issues processing all of it.

I would say that Autism is really issues in two key areas, processing and expression. How we process the stimuli that comes in and how we react and express ourselves in reaction to that stimuli. I can remember during my first marriage that in the home we were staying in someone would be listening to an internet radio station at the very same time that someone else was watching a TV that was too loud. All while the two of them were having a conversation and even attempting to have a conversation with me. You can imagine that this would be overwhelming to anyone but to someone like me who has issues processing and expressing myself it was a living hell.

I remember when I had my job at McDonald’s when I was 18. I rarely was put back into the kitchen area for good reason, there were too many tasks for me to do at once. I was never very fast but if you had me doing too many things at once I was useless. I remember trying to accomplish so much during that job and getting so overwhelmed by it all I wanted to do was escape and go outside so I could cry. Being on Fry duty was the absolute worse because I couldn’t keep enough boxes of fries ready to go during a rush.

For these and many other reasons I have always felt like a misfit, someone who doesn’t fit, a square peg, an anomaly. You know when they say that 9 out of 10 people usually do this? Guess who the 10th guy is. I’m the exception, the cast out, the ostracized… you get the picture.

If I have always felt like that in life it’s only natural that that feeling would play out in my faith as well.

3 years ago I became a Christian again. It was a strange thing to happen, I’d never thought I’d ever have faith again even though part of me always wanted it. I found myself trying to figure out just what it was that I believed, how much of cultural Christianity was I going to adopt as mine and how much was I going to dump? Who was it that I was following? I was sure about Jesus but there were other things that I wasn’t so sure about it. Much of what I would consider my faith was in flux, I was wrestling with a lot of ideas and thoughts and beliefs. The only thing I knew was that I wasn’t sure about a lot of stuff so I started searching. Some of what I found and latched onto was in the vein of more liberal progressive Christianity. Idea’s about uncertainty especially with the nature of The Bible and where it came from. I said some things that I regret and I came off as arrogant and hurt some folks along the way but I was searching.

As I drew nearer to Christ I could see some of my worldview shifting. Teachers like Brian Mclaren and even Rob Bell whom I still have great respect for weren’t feeding me like I thought they did in the past. I started to search for deeper and richer idea’s and studied scripture a lot more exclusively. Still though I had a hard time with the hard line of fundamentalism, the ultra right wing sect of Christianity which has hijacked the faith that I love so dearly and turned it into a political war cry around an “us vs them” mentality that I just couldn’t get on board with. So instead of aligning myself with either a progressive slant of Christianity which can’t get Jesus or his resurrection right  or with a right wing fundamentalist mentality who refuses to see that the world they are warring against is the exact same world that Jesus came to redeem I’ve continued to just be on my own. Partnering with whom I can when I can but realizing that no single worldview will have it all correct, not even(and especially not) mine.

The one thing that has remained is that I have no desire to get it all right, I already know that;s impossible. My biggest aim is to know God, to love him and to be loved and enjoyed by him. I find that most of my study as of late whether in the bible itself or by other authors is chasing after that aim. My questions have less to do about what can Christianity do for me, can it solve my issues, can it take away my pain, can it bring me joy? My questions are more about what Christ can do THROUGH me. Perhaps that is why I feel such a strong call into the pastorate, if he would have me. I have a broken heart for hurting people and I wan t for them the same thing that I have discovered. The furious and absolute love of God through Christ. If that makes me a Misfit than I will wear that badge with honor.

 

 

Questions: Why?

I haven’t received any questions this week, so I thought I would take the time to answer the question as top why I of all people considers himself a Christian. I really wanted to focus on the philosophical reasons as to why I believe in and follow Christ but I realized that those reasons would mean nothing to you if you don’t know my story. For some of my readers I may be rehashing information that you already know but for others who are new readers I think you will appreciate knowing where I am coming from. My story can be best summed up with a quote from Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 

As for myself, I confess that I am a child of my age, a child of unbelief and doubt up to this moment, and I am certain that I shall remain so to the grave. What terrible torments this thirst to believe has cost me and continues to cost me, burning ever more strongly in my soul the more contrary arguments there are. Nevertheless, God sometimes sends me moments of complete tranquility. In such moments I love and find that I am loved by others, and in such moments I have nurtured in myself a symbol of truth, in which everything is clear and holy for me. This symbol is very simple: it is the belief that there is nothing finer, profounder, more attractive, more reasonable, more courageous and more perfect than Christ, and not only is there not, but I tell myself with jealous love that there cannot be. Even if someone were to prove to me that the truth lay outside Christ, I should choose to remain with Christ rather than with the truth.

I was born 35 years ago on Nov 2nd 1977, I was originally due on Oct 8th but there were issues with my birth and my mother was in labor with me for almost an entire month. I don’t know how I survivve the birth, I probably shouldn’t have but it’s a miracle that I did. Because of the trauma I suffered I develo9ped various disabilities, most of them having to do with fine motor skills. My eyes didn’t work right and I had 2 surgeries by the time I was 5 to correct them. I was also born with a high functioning form of Autism that we now know as Aspergers Syndrome but back then we didn’t really have a name for what I had.

I had many problems going through school, I was abused by my peers and even by my teachers. I had a difficult time staying focused on school work and I rarely did homework, partly because I had trouble with writing and partly because I didn’t understand the concept of doing school work at home. So starting in the 1st grade I had teachers who believed the best way to handle the issue was to withhold lunch from me until I had the daily work done. This caused me to obsess over food for I hated the pain I felt when I was hungry. I would come home and eat until that feeling went away. I went from being a skinny kid to being fairly chubby. I was also bullied by other kids for various reasons, mostly because instead of playing with other kids I would go off by myself and walk around in circles flapping my hands around. This was the first time I ever heard the term retarded and I spent quite a bit of time wondering if that was truly what was wrong with me.

We didn’t go regularly to church when we were kids but we always believed in God and Jesus. I remember getting saved when I was 12 years old, I had gone with friends to a Christian concert and I participated in what is known as an alter call. I said a prayer known as the sinner’s prayer and I accepted Jesus as my lord and savior. This would not be the last time I said such a prayer but more on that some other time.

Throughout Jr High and High School I was a dedicated Christian, my family even started going to church. I was baptized the same day as my mother and brother. Also throughout Jre High and High School the bullying had continued and in  many ways had gotten worse. I was begining to lose my self esteem, I was beginning to see myself as my tormentors saw me. I started having issues with anxiety and depression. My Senior year was the worst, for most of the year I didn’t feel as if I had any friends and I would spend a lot of time in my room alone. I was even losing interest in band and choir, things didn’t seem to matter as much as they used to. This was the first time I seriously considered killing myself. I even began to think that God hated me, that he created me to be a big practical joke and I began to wonder if I was going to go to hell. My poor brother didn’t have it much better, he had Epilepsy which not only caused seizures but also caused him to act out in many ways. It caused him to be violent and he had very little impulse control. In many ways the only thing that saved us both was each other.. We had become best friends.

Then on August 27th 2001 at the age of 26 my brother was accidentally killed in a car accident. This was the final nail in the coffin of my faith which started to fail me back as early as high school though I fought for it for a long long time. I couldn’t understand how a God could allow something so horrible to happen to someone who loved him so much. I didn’t know if there was a God anymore, there certainly wasn’t a personal God and if there was some sort of being out there I knew that I didn’t want anything to do with him. All following him did for me was cause me pain, I became deeply depressed, I was drinking and smoking pot as much as I could and in many ways I just wanted to die. My weight had ballooned all the way up to around 360 lbs and I didn’t care. I resigned myself to enjoy as much of the pleasures of this life as I could for as long as I was alive. I met a girl online and we started dating but I wasn’t ever really in love with her nor was she in love with me. We even got married but it never really took. I was messing around with women on the internet and she had a guy she knew move in with us as a roommate. After 2 years of a miserable marriage I left my wife at the time and started having an affair over the internet with a girl who was also married. She had told me she was being abused and I gave her every reason to leave her husband and be with me but she never did and that was the 2nd time that this life almost killed me.

I was fed up, fed up with life, with God(if he even existed) and with all of the pain I had gone through when things started to slowly turn around. I happened to meet my wife Corrie on the internet one night, just a total chance meeting. There was obvious chemistry there and we been talking to each other every day since. I moved her to Tucson to live with me which was against her conservative parents wishes but we didn’t care we both found something we needed in each other. I asked her to marry me and she said yes. That’s when everything that I had never actually dealt with finally bubbled to the surface. THe bullying, the loss of my brother, my issues with faith, all of it. I started having panic attacks, big ones. I had always had the occasional panic attack but these started happening every week, sometimes more than once per week.  Even worse than the panic attacks was the constant feeling of dread I had, I was worried about everything. I thought that it was just the wedding I was worried about but even after Corrie and I got married they didn’t stop. I finally had to get on medication to calm me down but there was still turmoil in my life. I lost 2 jobs because of anger issues I was dealing with. I thought that falling in love with the right person would fix every issues I had in my life. What else needed to happen?

It was around this time that I started having honest conversations about God and faith with my wife. I asked her candidly what it would mean to her if I gave faith another try and she said it would be really important to her. I made her no promises except to check some things out and so we started going to churches. The first church we tried was too big, too…. ‘church-y’ for what I needed so we kept looking. After reading Blue Like Jazz and seeing the type of church that Don Miller was a part of I knew that was what I needed to find, something missional. I did a search for missional churches in Tucson and found 2, Revolution and The Village. I told myself I’d try them both out and see which one I liked the best. I went to The Village that next week and I still haven’t been to Revolution.

I’ve been going to The Village now for 3 years and I have learned so much about God and myself there. In those 3 short years I have become a drummer in the worship band, a member of the leadership team. I lead a bible study, visit people when they are sick in the hospital, cry with those who grieve and pray alongside everyone who asks me to. I cannot begin to discribe the difference in character that I have noticed in myself, I am far from perfect but day by day I am becoming more and more Christ like. My marriage is stronger, it will be 5 years this August. I have less demands about how life is supposed to be and more longings for how I can better serve those that are around me. God has put it on our hearts to move towards foster care and adoption and more and more each day I see myself learning how to be a pastor, perhaps of The Village someday or perhaps I’ll be called to plant my own church. I will be preaching my 2nd sermon ever this July, I cannot believe that me the guy who hated God and never wanted anything to do with him is doing the things I am doing now.

If you were to ask me why I am a Christian there are 2 reasons I can give you. #1 is because looking back over my life it’s obvious to me that someone has been guiding it all, that the things that have happened could not have happened by chance. It would take more faith to believe that than to believe that God is orchestrating everything. The 2nd reason is the resurrection. The more I look at the evidence, the theories that surround the evidence, I am convinced that there was a Jesus and that he was raised from the dead. Next week I will go into more detail for those reasons. For now it’s my prayer that my story has helped you in some way. I hope you will find the furious love of God for you, somewhere in my story.

Question: Confidence

Recently I received a question from a reader about confidence. Here it is:

Is self-esteem or confidence important for a Christian. In my experience, people who have never experienced a serious lack of confidence in themselves are the ones who preach that confidence is unimportant or even sinful. Those who struggle with self-esteem are often times shunned by others, sometimes accused of being selfish.

This is something that hits home for me because it’s something that I struggle with. Because of things that happened when I was growing up I had huge self esteem issues, in fact I hated myself for many years. Both as a non believer and as a Christian I despised who I was and this affected the way I viewed God. As a non believer God seemed disinterested or nonexistent. As a believer he seemed unsatisfied or forced to love me out of some sort of pity. Through prayer and lots of counseling I’ve learned that this sort of extreme low self esteem is not healthy, but I don’t think that the sort of arrogent pride that you see from overconfident people is the answer either. I think that God is inviting us into something bigger, deeper, richer.

I think there are 2 things in which we should be confident in

#1: In God

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Galatians 6:14

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us

1 John 5:14

Also we should have confidence in the NEW identity that we find IN Christ.

 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2:8-10

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

1 Corinthians 2:1-10, 17

This isn’t an overnight change the process of sanctification(becoming mroe like Christ) takes an entire lifetime to perform. But for those who, like me, have struggled with confidence I’d say first relax and see what God will do. Next I would say to focus on what you know, not what you feel but what you know. Especially the verse from 1 Peter. Soak yourself in that vision of your identity and call it your own. Read that verse but read it from your perspective, I am chosen, I am a royal priest, a member of a holy nation. I am God’s special possession. When you focus on those attribute you might surprise yourself as to how you are slowly becoming more bold and more confident.

So to summarize, low self esteem is harmful. Confidence in your own earthly self and ability isn’t the answer. Put your confidence in God and what he has done for you through Christ. It’s there that you can grab hold of your new and true identity which will help with your self esteem. 

How about you? Have you struggled with self esteem? How has God helped you with this?

Remember you can post new questions here or send them to me at mikewise77@gmail.com I’l answer a new question next week.

 

To love and to cherish

Last night I went on a walk and I decided to listen to a sermon by Mark Driscoll, it is the latest in the series about identity that I have been following since my solitude experience. This particular sermon was about our identity of being loved and in it he was speaking about marriage roles. During the sermon he spoke about how he loves officiating weddings and while he does he likes to look at the bride as she comes down the aisle, how she looks at her groom. Then he likes to look at the groom, the look  on his face as he see’s his approaching bride.

I’ve been married to Corrie for approaching 5 years, we wed before I came back to faith in a hotel chapel in Vegas. There was very little tradition in our wedding, we didn’t even dress up. We all wore T-shirts and shorts and baseball caps. But there was one bit of tradition we didn’t break with, her walking down the aisle to me. We have a great picture in our wedding book of the look on my face as she approached. I don’t know how exactly to describe it other than a look of awe and adoration. The kind of look a guy has when he see’s the most beautiful  thing that life has to offer. I felt that way then and I still feel that way about my Corrie. I am blessed to have her in my life and I still get swept away when she smiles at me.

That’s when it hit me

See in scripture time and again the idea of a wedding and marriage is used to illustrate the relationship that Jesus has with the church. Jesus is the groom and we are his bride.

Ephesians 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior 

Ephesians 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Much is said in Christians circles about our role in this marriage, our submission to Christ and our adoration and enjoyment of him as well as it should be. These are important lessons that we all should learn. But as I was listening to this sermon and reflecting back on the way I looked at my blushing bride as she walked down the aisle to me I realize that far too many words are said about the way in which Christ loves and adores his bride, us. I think that many Christians, myself included, could benefit from a reminder that Christ looks at his church, at you, the same way that I looked at my wife when I was getting married to her, the same way I look at her now. Jesus adores you, he loves you, and he takes great pleasure in you. Not because you’re perfect, because as I’ve said before we aren’t, none of us are. But because we are redeemed in his saving work on the cross. He loves us simply because he desires to love us. He thus invites us into a much more intimate relationship with him, he invites us to desire him in the same way he desires us.

Hosea 2 19 I will betroth you to me forever;
    I will betroth you in[e] righteousness and justice,
    in[f] love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in[g] faithfulness,
    and you will acknowledge the Lord.

21 “In that day I will respond,”
    declares the Lord
“I will respond to the skies,
    and they will respond to the earth;
22 and the earth will respond to the grain,
    the new wine and the olive oil,
    and they will respond to Jezreel.[h]
23 I will plant her for myself in the land;
    I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.[i]
I will say to those called ‘Not my people,[j]’ ‘You are my people’;
    and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”

 

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