Just reading Hosea. I know, I know . . . "why Hosea, of all things? You mean you just really had to hear a story about a guy marrying a prostitute?"
Yeah, I know. Seems kind of odd. But I stumbled across a verse I knew but hadn't thought of in a long, long time.
Hosea 6:1 "Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.
He has torn us to pieces . . .
Amazing that God has the power to strike terror into our hearts . . . and that at times He actually uses it. Forcing us to recognize our utter dependence upon Him. Demonstrating clearly that He is God and we are not. Shredding every last ounce of the false reality of self-reliance. God's vicious mercy.
But He will will us . . .
Despite the agonizing blows of life, despite the fact that God has struck us so hard our ears are ringing . . . we look to Him in faith. Realizing that He has orchestrated events in order to call us back to Him. We confess that He is God and that in Him alone we find true peace.
Is God a sadist? No, no, of course not. Is He an abusive husband, beating His wife into submission? Again, the answer is clearly "No." So how to explain Hosea's words that God has torn us to pieces, that He has injured us?
It is a severe mercy. A mercy that uses the only language we will at times understand: the language of pain. Pain rouses us from our self-satisfied slumber to full awakening. Alert with newly-sharpened senses still sizzling like alcohol poured onto a cut, we at last see God for the majestic, awesome God that alone is worthy of our worship. We turn at last from our selfish selves to Him . . .
. . . and He binds our wounds and in Him we find peace.