This is a hard week for my family.
Our days have been guided by an anxious awaiting of news we expect to be bad, and our nights have been filled with dreams of happier days.
My grandfather is fighting the end stages of leukemia.
On the way to the hospital early this morning, I asked my grandmother how she and my grandfather came to be one. Although I have heard the story many times, it is always fun to be reminded of the days a sick family member was once full of life. It happened like so.
My Grandma was sitting on her front porch with one of her friends when a car pulled up. She recognized both boys sitting in the front seat, but quickly decided she had no interest in doing whatever they were about to ask.
“Come for a ride?” The driver asked, only to be followed by a quick rejection.
A few days later Grandma was at the laundromat when a familiar voice echoed, “How about that ride this time?”
She laughed, told him he could wait until she finished, and turned back to her laundry. Little did either of them know, they were entering the beginning of a lifetime.
Long story short, she went on the ride. He was on a leave from the Navy but knew that this was it for him, so he gave her his mother’s engagement ring right before leaving stateside. After only a few days of being apart, Grandma got a call. My Papa was tired of waiting, and wanted her to be his wife right then. He beckoned her to his station in Hawaii where they were married only a matter of weeks after meeting one another.
Fifty years later, we are watching the end of this love story ensue. Although there is so much sadness welling up in our hearts, watching my family–especially my grandmother–handle everything with so much grace and peace reminds me of the hope beyond this world. Hearing their love story allows me to recall the sweet love story our Savior wrote for us, the one that has no ending.
If you have been following me over the last three weeks, you have heard the metaphor. If you haven’t, here’s a quick recap: Hosea is an obedient prophet of God. Yet God uses him to make an example out of the Israelites and ultimately us. He asks Hosea to marry a woman who is he knows will be unfaithful and to continually beckon her back to him not out of force, but rather, earnest love.
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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.” For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.
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You see, the best part of this story is what comes right at the end of chapter three: God’s promise that the children of Israel will seek The Lord and return to His goodness. Friends, this sweet promise is just the beginning of its fulfillment in John 19:30. It is a precursor to the fact that although we may run, we may seek other pleasures, we may spit in the face of our Savior, He still sought us with all He had. He sent His greatest love to be sacrificed for His most disobedient children.
The greatest part of Hosea is not the story, it’s the promise.
In this moment, I am sitting next to a man in a hospital bed wrought with the pain this world promises. I am watching his body grow weak, I am reminded that he will never see on this earth again, and I am listening the doctor say that cancerous cells are taking over his blood–his earthly lifeline.
I am also sitting here praising The Lord that this blood is not his eternal lifeline. That is Jesus’s blood. His perfect, clean blood. His blood that was fully human yet fully God. His blood that was spilled for my Papa’s sin, my sin, and every one of His children’s sin. I am thankful that because of that blood, my Papa will not be sick much longer. He will see Jesus’s face in a matter of days.
I don’t know what heaven is like, but you better bet that in this moment, I am more thankful than ever that Jesus’s blood has covered my sweet Papa. Yes, this chapter is coming to a close, but the story doesn’t end here.
The love story our Jesus lived for us is far above any love story we experience on this earth.
That is what is giving my Grandma peace today.
It allows my sad tears to also be joyful and my heart to ache less.
Don’t get me wrong, I am sad. My heart aches. I cry often. But that is why I am so sure that we were made for a different world. We were made for a better love story. My Papa gets to experience that love story first-hand soon. I am so excited for him.
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“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”