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Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.

When God Loves Too Much - Encouragement for Today - June 7, 2017

Lauren Chandler

June 7, 2017
When God Loves Too Much
LAUREN CHANDLER

“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.” Hosea 2:19-20 (ESV)

In my early 20s, all I wanted to do was travel, sing and write music.

It seemed glamorous and fun and what (I thought) the Lord would have for me. My husband Matt was an itinerant preacher, and so I joined him on his trips — from the most obscure west Texas towns to retreats nestled in the Rockies and everywhere in between.

We were teamed up with a couple of worship leaders who became lifelong friends. Here was my chance, I thought. I could hop up on stage with them, sing my guts out and fulfill my dreams. But the Lord had other plans. Our friends offered me a position with them, but it wasn’t what I’d hoped.

I became their booking agent (and I was THE WORST). I loathe talking on the phone … and guess what booking agents do mostly (or did at that time before email was so widely used)? Yep. I was miserable.

I remember sitting on a king-sized bed in a musty motel room, crying out to the Lord, Why? Why is it so hard for me?

Why does the world seem to be against me? Why do You seem to be against me?

My way had been hedged with thorns. And thorns hurt.

Although it didn’t seem like I was asking for much, the Lord loved me too much to let me have what I wanted. As I look back, I can see the “walls” He built around me were His arms enfolding me. The thorns were less like punishment and more like protection.

My voice, my gifts, my desires were given to me by God — just as He gave Israel the grain, new wine, oil, silver and gold. And just like Israel, I was using His good gifts to serve something or someone else — me. I wanted the glory. And wanted the praise.

I had entered the first desert season I’d ever known. I was lonely, longing for relief and lamenting where I found myself.

Yet, the Lord had a plan for me in the middle of my wilderness as He did for Israel, and as He does for you, which we see in Hosea 2:16 and 19-20:

“‘And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ … And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.’” (ESV)

The Lord would lead His people into the wilderness, the desert, to expose their betrayal and to betroth them to Him in faithfulness forever. He would show them that He wasn’t like the Baals (false gods). He didn’t need to be appeased or bought. Essentially, He was saying, Let Me love you. As a husband should love his wife, let Me love you.

Israel had been seduced by a period of peace and prosperity. They confused the created with the Creator, the gift with the Giver. Broken wells and false anchors were more appealing than Yahweh — I Am Who I Am. He loved His people too much to let them continue in their betrayal. So, He led them into the desert.

The same is true for you and me. And I’m thankful the Lord is helping me learn this important lesson — that some days, the Lord simply loves even me too much to let me continue in my betrayal.

Dear Lord, I don’t want to turn to false gods, but I know my heart, and so do You. Help me to continue to turn to You. Thank You for loving me too much to allow me to always have what I want or to keep going on the wrong path. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 58:11, “And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” (ESV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
If you’re ready to witness how God delights in setting you free, changing darkness into light and bringing the dead to life, you’ll appreciate this new Bible study from Lauren Chandler, Steadfast Love: A Study of Psalm 107Click here to get your copy today.

CONNECT:
Enter to WIN a copy of Steadfast Love Bible Study by Lauren Chandler. In celebration of this Bible study, LifeWay is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, June 12.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are there good gifts God has given you that you’re using to serve something or someone else? What are they? Whom or what are they serving?

© 2017 by Lauren Chandler. All rights reserved.

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