“Come, let us return to the LORD;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.”
In context, this verse in Hosea is all about the prophet encouraging the nation of Israel to respond to the Lord’s discipline by humbling themselves and trusting that (1) the discipline was warranted and deserved and (2) that God is using the correction for His glory and their benefit and (3) that it is motivated by love.
I think one reason why this verse jumped out at me today is because I am in a season right now where I can really identify with this feeling of being torn and struck down and in need of healing and binding up. In my case, I’m not sure whether I have been feeling this way due to the Lord’s discipline or not. But really, does it matter? My response is to be the same – a humble submission to the sovereign God who has allowed me to experience the things that have caused me to feel this way. A humble submission that acknowledges that my physical infirmities are things that He has allowed. I believe that He could choose to relieve me of them. I also believe that He has chosen to not do that. God does not allow things to happen willy-nilly. He has decided to not offer me relief. But why? If He could, why wouldn’t He?
I don’t really know the answer. I do know and believe that one day I will have an understanding of His reasons but that day is on the other side of eternity. Based on what I do know (of His character and His word), I can speculate that whatever His reasons, it is more than likely meant to accomplish the following:
– To ultimatlely bring Him glory
– To perfect my faith
Really, beyond those two things, should I even worry about trying to further explain or understand it?
I liked something I heard at church this past Sunday. The preacher said something to the effect of, “our times of suffering provide us with an opportunity to pour out and share what we believe about God”. Sometimes before we can share that with others, we need to preach it to ourselves first. In the darkest of times is when we need to remind ourselves of who God has revealed Himself to be and what He has promised in the light. Our circumstances do not change who God is – He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We need to preach the gospel to ourselves and remember that God’s word stands forever.
What to do though when you don’t feel what you believe? When you believe that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you but you feel so weak? When you believe that you are more than a conqueror and yet, you can barely make it through the work day? When the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak?
I guess you acknowledge your weakness and give praise to God for the fact that apart from Him, you can do nothing. I guess you give thanks and praise to God that the good work that He began in you He will also be faithful to finish. I guess you praise God that in your weakness, He is strong. You give thanks that His grace is sufficient. And you look forward all the more to a day when you meet Him fact to face in a place where there is no more pain and the former things have passed away. And you thank Him that He is perfecting your faith in all these things.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”