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Rich in mercy

/ 06:44 AM November 10, 2013

“The whole country has become a whorehouse, unfaithful to me…” (Hosea 1:2, The Message Bible)

The wind outside is lashing its fury and the rain is pouring hard as I write this. Supertyphoon Yolanda has started to make known her presence and I sit here surrendering our safety to God’s hands.

I have started reading the first chapter of Hosea and that “whorehouse” verse struck me. Is our unfaithfulness bearing down on God’s patience ? Are the recent calamities (earthquakes, diseases, floods, fires, sinking ship, sink holes, etc) His strong reminders for the people to go on their knees and acknowledge Him as the one true power in this world?

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Hosea was God’s prophet whom he commanded to marry the whore Gomer and have children with. God ordered their children to be named Jezreel, No Mercy and Nobody.

Hosea would continue to love and accept Gomer despite her continued unfaithfulness in their marriage. The story of Hosea is not of love as we understand it but a parable of God’s love.

The astonishing message in Hosea’s love for Gomer is that God loves us in the same unconditional way— in our best as well as in our worst; in our goodness as well as in our stubbornness, sinfulness and unfaithfulness.

Who are we then to doubt His existence, His power?

The wind is strongly whistling outside.

Can we also hear God’s call to change our ways and believe in Him who can provide us with everything, including peace and happiness that the world can’t?

I look out and I see the papaya tree fall, the roofs moving and water flowing fast on the ground. And my heart sank.

Do you feel also feel hopeless and useless with your misfortunes? Do you think of injustice when you look at other people more fortunate than you are?

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This storm will stop. It can’t go on wreaking havoc. God is in control.

Our hurts and pains can go away, too. God is rich in mercy. In some mysterious ways, God provides mercy to sinners and justice to victims.

If we look up to Him, we have “no further misfortune to fear.” (Zeph 3:15). Never mind if supertyphoon Yolanda’s fury is raging throughout the entire country. God has assured us  that He is in charge. “Leave it to the Lord…trust in Him  and He will act.” (Psalm 37:7,5)

But just like Hosea’s obedience to follow God’s command to marry a whore and our busy preparations for Yolanda’s entry, have we also been obedient to the constant prompting of God’s spirit to change? Have we been also preparing our souls to be pure and worthy of God’s act of mercy?

God is a God of compassion. No sin is so great for him not to forgive. Gomer can be the dirtiest whore in Israel then but a man like Hosea still loved her to the end. God is rich in mercy. He welcomes any repentant soul.

I see objects thrown by the wind on the streets. Yolanda is getting stronger.

As we face fierce storms like this in our lives, all we can do is pray for God’s grace to fill us with faith and courage. It is the same faith and courage that will enable us to choose what is good and pleasing to him and to reject whatever would keep us from experiencing His mercy.

The story of Hosea is a story of unconditional love. The storm Yolanda is a call for God’s great mercy and love for us. It is our turn now to be turn to God not only in this time of adversity but for life. God’s love is greater than what Hosea showered Gomer. He will see us through until we come face to face with Him in the final days.

It’s our decision to make ourselves deserving of this bountiful mercy.

Do we want to always struggle in fear for the storm or do we want to face it with courage and faith knowing that God’s mercy is upon us? If we want the latter, all it takes is for us to bend our knees and raise our hands in complete acknowledgement of  God’s power over all the storms in our life.

It’s going to be a long day. No power. No water. The wind is howling and the rain continues to pour.

But I believe that God’s mercy is strongest when storms devastate our lives. I lean on Him more because in this moment of nothingness, His presence is magnified.

I dread storms but if it is the only way to make me take stock of my nothingness before God, I will face it with humility and repentance for what I have not done well.

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