Wounded Lover

by Jan Silvious

While reading Philip Yancey's book, Dis-appointment with God, I came across a very interesting image of God. Yancey brings the metaphor to life as he puts words in God's mouth:

"I'll tell you how I feel! I feel like a jilted lover. I found my lover thin and wasted, abused, but I brought her home and made her beauty shine. She is my precious one, the most beautiful woman in the world to me, and I lavish on her gifts and love. And yet she forsakes me. She pants after my best friends, my enemies-­anyone. She stands by a highway and under every spreading tree and, worse than a prostitute, she pays people to have sex with her. I feel betrayed, abandoned, cuckolded."1

God knows the pain and frustrated anger of a broken heart. The tragedy is that, we, like faithless Israel, are responsible for it.

One of my very favorite books of the Bible is the Book of Hosea. The cycle of love, broken vows, forgiveness, and reconciliation is the story of God's love affair with the human race. We can see it played out in the lives of Hosea and his wife, Gomer, who betrays her husband time after time, falling for first one man and then another. Each time, against all odds, God instructs Hosea to take her back. Finally, when Gomer's youth and beauty are gone and she has become a public spectacle, Hosea buys her back, out of the depths of depravity to which she has fallen.

"What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears.... Like Adam, they have broken the covenant-they were unfaithful to me" (Hos. 6: 4, 7).

God's own wounded heart speaks through this story. What is He going to do with people who insist on running after other lovers? Our faithlessness, too, may be demonstrated, not in physical adultery, but in lusting for power and position, manipulation and control, or worldly possessions. Anything we yearn for as a substitute for God may be as seductive to us as Gomer was to her lovers.

But God is faithful. He says, "‘Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth.... In that day,' declares the Lord ‘you will call me "my husband" . . . and 1 will betroth you to me forever'" (2:14-16, 19). If you are a believer, consider renewing your vows to God today. Let Him know that, with His help, no person, goal, or thing will ever seduce you from your devotion to Him. If you are not a believer, read the book of Hosea and see just how much God loves you!

From The 5-Minute Devotional
©Zondervan 1991


Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988).

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