“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
These words from St. Augustine hit us where we need it most. In this short sentence, he expresses both the purpose and predicament of the human condition. We are made for rest in God, but we look for rest in all the wrong places.
Augustine knew this struggle firsthand. For he, like you and me, had a drifter’s heart. But that’s not just true for Augustine or you or me. It’s true for everyone. This is why reading the history of Israel often feels a bit like a day in the life of a parent with a two year old. No matter how many times God tells Israel not to do something, they still wind up sticking screwdrivers into electrical sockets (spiritually speaking).
You might half expect the last chapter of this book to be God’s “I’ve had it up to here with you” speech. But nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, Hosea chapter 14 is God’s “I love you this much” speech. Complete with beautiful promises of healing kindness, turned-away anger, and unconditional love, God calls adulterating Israel back to the arms of His covenant affection to experience the restoration of life, joy, and peace.
Isn’t it amazing that this chapter begins with the word “return to the Lord” and not “go away; I’m through with you”? After all we’ve done, God’s love remains. More than anything, He wants us to be restored to Him, and so He pleads for us to return in repentance and then He patiently waits and watches.
The daily practice of returning to God for the love and grace He freely gives is the heart of the Christian life. Today, and every day, God is calling you to return to Him. How long have you been away? If you’re like me, I bet it’s been too long. Wait no longer.
Go to your Father now. And always.
Written By Nate Shurden