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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Larsen

We Learn How to Parent From Him



 

As I sit down to write this blog, my heart is filled with love and excitement.  Last night, a thousand miles away, my son’s wife gave birth to a precious baby boy! We’d been anticipating this day for so long.  We’d stayed in touch with her pregnancy, and we knew everything she’d gone through to get to this important day. Fortunately, due to modern technology, we were able to easily send quick text messages back and forth, keeping in touch with the progress.


We stayed up late, way past our bedtime, so that we wouldn’t miss the moment that he arrived!  And we stayed up until after the doctors had examined him and declared him a perfectly healthy hour-old baby boy. The relief in my heart was intense. Even though I’d given birth to two sons myself, that was a long time ago, and I was young enough then that I never considered that things might go wrong.  And they didn’t, thank God!  And this precious grandbaby is perfectly fine too, but my grandparent’s heart was thick with love and prayers that everything would be smooth and right for his parents.


Have you ever looked into the face of a moments-old baby and known to your very soul that you would do anything for this little creature?  If needed, you would sacrifice your own health, your own life, to make sure that this little human has the greatest chance. Hopefully you will never need to make that sacrifice, but you know in your heart that you would, if needed.


How timely that my blog post for this week was inspired by Hosea 11:1 – 4:


“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more they were called, the more they went away from me. … It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms, but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love.  To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.”


The overwhelming feeling that exudes from this passage is about parental love.  It’s exactly that feeling that I have for my new grandbaby.  Protection, love, sacrifice, pride, hope for a bright future.  We feel all those emotions naturally; no one has to teach us to feel that way about a child.  We feel that way because God feels that way about his own creations.  I’m willing to bet that you didn’t even have to read Hosea 11 to know that’s how you feel about your own child!


We love our own children because it’s in our DNA.  Because that’s how God loves us.


While we’re here, let’s dig a little deeper into this Hosea passage. According to Wikipedia, the prophet Hosea was active in the 8th century before Christ.  He was considered the first of twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible. Biblical scholar John Day says that Hosea chapter 11 portrays God's "inextinguishable" love, leading him to call it "one of the high points in the Old Testament." This chapter depicts God’s unfailing love for the Israelites despite their continuous rebellion and disobedience and uses a parable of a father’s love for a rebellious child to illustrate God’s persevering love.


This parable speaks to me, not only from a parental point of view. It also speaks to my heart from a child’s point of view. As much as I try to be a good child of God, there are times when I fall.  Certain situations in life arise and make my attitude and my words and thoughts to be decidedly ungod-like. It’s going to happen – because we’re human. But I know that God is not going to banish me from his loving kindness because I had a falter. He’s going to forgive me and love me through it because he is a good, good father.


In my “day job” I write novels...


I say this jokingly because for over three decades, my day job was in an office working long hours, and I wrote novels at night.  Now, though, I’m enjoying a wonderful retirement from my Number One day job. Writing novels has become the work I do most, in addition to my The Year I Read the Bible project.


And going to the beach.

And meeting friends for lunch.

And reading.

And going to movies.

And hosting visitors.

And traveling.

(I did say it was a really wonderful retirement, right?)


But back to my novels. Specifically, I write love stories with a faith message.  The genre is known as Inspirational Romance.  (Here’s a link to a look at all twenty-some of my novels if that might interest you.) 


There is a classic in our genre entitled Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It’s a captivating historical romance novel set during the 1850s Gold Rush in California. The story is basically a retelling of the book of Hosea, and its central theme revolves around the redeeming love of God towards sinners.  The protagonist is Angel, a tragically wounded soul who has endured a life of pain and betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. Her heart is frozen, and she expects nothing but betrayal from men.


In contrast, we have Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. He obeys God’s call to marry Angel and love her unconditionally. Despite Angel’s resistance, Michael defies her bitter expectations day by day, thawing her frozen heart. As Michael’s love persists, Angel’s heart softens. However, overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear drive her to run back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love. But Michael’s love is relentless, and he refuses to let her go.


The novel is a powerful retelling of the biblical story of Hosea and his wife Gomer, emphasizing God’s unconditional, redemptive, and all-consuming love. Recently, a major motion picture was released based on the book. The most common review from people who didn’t realize it was based on a Bible story, “It’s completely unrealistic! No one would ever go through that much pain and disappointment for love!”


While I agreed that it was humanly unrealistic, we have to remember that God’s love for us is supernatural. He has the ability and the tendency to love beyond human limits, which surpasses our understanding.  Redeeming Love is a literary masterpiece that reminds us that God’s love knows no bounds. It’s a story of healing, redemption, and the transformative power of love.


What is your love story between you and God? What has he done in your life to prove that he loves you with no bounds?


Prayer:  Dearest God, we thank you for loving us as well and as fiercely as you do.  We thank you that by your example, you teach us how to love our own children.  We pray that we always follow your example, but thank you that when we stumble, as we always will, you’re right there to take our hand, mend our scrapes and love us through it all.  Amen.




 

 


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