I laid there, anxiously awaiting the morning and the events to come. Soon, I would put on my button up shirt and comfy shorts, just like they told me. I’d sit in a room with some of the dearest women to my heart, as curls were strategically placed in my hair. I’d rest my eyes as my friend brushed shimmery colors upon my eyelids.
And then, I’d slip on that dress. The one I had longed to wear all my life.
I can’t even begin to explain the load of emotions I felt that night and the next day. If I could sum them up in just one word it would be…redemption.
Only years before, I could have been named among Gomer and the adulterous woman. I was a slave to sin who lacked the desire for freedom. My body and heart were not places of purity, but rather, tools to get what I wanted; to feel loved–even for just a moment.
The world told me this gave me power. The many scars on my heart revealed a different story. A story of emptiness, shame and fear.
But God loved me enough to not allow me to stay there. He sent Christ to redeem me just like he sent Hosea to redeem Gomer.
And the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” (Hosea 3:1-3 ESV)
Hosea bought his wife back. He bought what was already his. Even when she had left him for other men. Even though she didn’t want to be saved. He chose her and was faithful to her.
Just like Christ.
Jesus bought us with his life’s blood. He paid the price to free us from our bondage even while we were chasing after our sin.
for you were bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:20a ESV)
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 ESV)
He chose us, died for us, saved us and will always remain faithful to us, though we be often times faithless.
A Story of Redemption
As I laid there the night before my wedding, I thought about those years before God saved me. I never, in a million years, would have believed that my purity could be restored. And yet, I was about to walk down the aisle to meet my groom–a man I had only kissed. Not because of an obligation to follow rules, but because my heart had been changed.
Though God had changed me in so many ways before Jim and I even went on our first date, this was a proof of grace no one could deny. That he could take a girl who used to give herself to men on the first date and change her to a woman whose heart’s desire was to honor God and abstain until marriage, is an undeniable testament of his transforming grace.
I did not muster up the strength. No, God gave me a new heart with new desires. This is something only he could have done.
No More Condemnation
Maybe you can relate?
There are times where I feel like the most wicked woman among the women in my church. The story of my past aligns more with the story of the woman caught in adultery than Ruth or Esther.
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:3-11 ESV)
I wonder how her story played out. How would a moment like this woman experienced, face to face with Jesus, affect your life; your heart? I can only imagine.
Maybe you feel like you relate to her story, too. I want you to hear the grace in the Lord’s words to her. He speaks these words to all who come to him in humble repentance. Even to those of us who have wrecked our lives.
God has dramatically transformed my life since the day he told me to “Go, and sin no more.” I’m proof that his grace saves, redeems and sanctifies anyone who calls upon his name.
Don’t delay. Turn and seek his face today.
And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD. (Hosea 2:19-20 ESV)