Lent Day 33: For God So Loved…
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” — Mark 14:32-42
From now until the end of Holy Week, the verses which begin each devotion will be the telling of the single greatest event in history. It’s something we need to constantly hear because the foundation of our faith is being buried more and more all of the time. No matter how much some people want to change the very nature of Christianity, the truth can never be lost because darkness will never defeat the Light.
I worry sometimes, however, if the false prophets have planted so many seeds of doubt that your faith is shaken. Do you struggle to believe God truly loves you – regardless of what you’ve ever done or said? As difficult as it is, you must know that it’s truth.
Are you family with the story of Gomer? She is known to us as a prostitute in the book of Hosea. Hosea was Gomer’s husband. Although Gomer left him, their children, and sold herself for money, Hosea found her, fought for her, and bought her back. You see, Hosea didn’t see her as a prostitute. He saw her as his beloved bride, the mother of his children, the one worth fighting for.
In our culture today, too many discount the Bible as useless stories. But these historical narratives are our stories. We feel much of the same things. So this story of Gomer is worth looking at because we can relate. Gomer would have been tossed aside, considered worthless. But because of Hosea’s love for her, he saw who she really was and did everything to get her back.
This is a picture of God and us. This story is a foreshadowing of what was to come: when God sent Jesus to pursue us and do everything to win us back. His love goes beyond the ways we turn from Him to do what we want regardless of how it hurts us or others. It goes beyond what our culture says and what we tell ourselves about who we are. We are so loved and sought after by a God who is able to free us now and forever. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” This is the message we are to take to the world. This is the IT message from God to each of us. He died so you may live!