A few weeks ago, I started and finished Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. If you have not read this book, I 110% recommend you do so! This book shares the story of Hosea in the 1850's during the California Gold Rush. Oh my word, I wish I could describe how truly incredible this book is. After completing this phenomenal novel, I sat down by the River and reflected and read through the book Hosea a couple times.
As we see throughout history, God's people continually turn their backs on Him and chose to focus their attention on anything other than their Creator. It is not until His people encounter hardships that they turn to him. When life becomes easy once more, they automatically turn back to ignoring the Father, seeking assistance from other gods and idols. In this midst of this, God reminds His people that even when they turn their backs to Him, He is the one who provides the blessings they receive.
The people He created and wants to bless chose to take their appreciate to inanimate objects, not thanking the one true King. However, this is what stood out to me from the whole book. Nearing the end (11:8-9), God says this to his rebellious people...
 How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Isr**l?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
 I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.
Being one who deserves the wrath of God, how can I not turn and praise Him for pardoning me from death? He grows in His compassion, knowing we will never meet this standard of perfection that He asks of us. Instead, He sent His own son to take on the necessary punishment. He chose to create a solution, an escape for us. And this is a debt we can never repay. Grace is truly a profound and counterintuitive concept that we will never fully comprehend. A good friend of mine reminded me of the blessing of this journey. The "arrival" of understanding grace will never truly happen, but the striving to understand why a perfect God would extend grace to us and how to apply it to ourselves and others, truly is a manifestation of worship. As Hosea says, despite my unbelief and failure to serve Him, He will never pour His wrath on me. Rather He is filled with compassion, kindness, and love (11:4).
I realized as I wrote this how much of a blessing it is to be navigating grace in a highly works oriented culture. Everyone is strivign to do good in order to earn favor in the sight of God, not realizing the price has already been paid. As I continually dive into learning more about this gift I will never deserve, I am excited to bring others into the journey with me! I pray those around me will be drawn to this love that surpasses all knowledge, desring to understand more of who this loving God is.