I’m over halfway through reading the Bible in a year. Reading it in chronological order and hacking my way through the Old Testament, it’s incredible to see how many times God saved His people only for them to turn their backs on him. Again and again, they embrace idols. Again and again, God offers mercy because of His great love for us.
Reading Hosea this morning, I was convicted by this:
“They do not cry out to me with sincere hearts. Instead, they sit on their couches and wail. They cut themselves begging foreign gods for grain and new wine, and they turn away from me…They look everywhere except to the Most High.” — Hosea7:14, 16a
Gutted. Last night, I said to my husband: I don’t know how to change. I’ve been irritated and mean, frustrated and unhappy at times. I have a personal issue that I can’t seem to overcome and it feels impossible. The kids have been incredibly challenging this week for some reason and I feel like I need an escape, but there is none.
This morning, my daughter Abby woke up at 2:30am and refused to go back to sleep. So here I am, 4 hours later, three cups of coffee in and God comes to meet me in the book of Hosea. Funny how the Bible works, right? Read it regularly, diligently, looking for the message to you and you’ll find it.
The line about “wailing on the couch” really got me. It happened to be on the couch last night that I was wailing about feeling frozen in my own negativity. As my husband’s faith grows, mine feels like it’s shrinking. My prayer life has been dismal and once again — like the Israelites — I find myself attempting to rely on my own strength, my own little gods, to be strong and fulfilled.
“Between the city walls, you build a reservoir for water from the old pool. But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago.” — Isaiah 22:11
Same idea, right? I’m pulling water from a well that’s used and dirty — my old human nature, not my new life in Christ. I’m not stopping to ask for help or considering that God doesn’t want me to feel trapped in a prison of my own making.
Writing this doesn’t make me feel any better. But I’m getting the message. And just like God had to remind the Israelites over and over and over again to return to Him, He is reminding me of that too. Why do I doubt prayer when the history of it’s power in my life is evident? As Romans says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” That runs through my head daily and while I’m in good company, it doesn’t alleviate the oppressive feeling that comes with continuing the behavior.
So I’ll try to remember this one today:
“Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you.” — Isaiah 26: 12
Nothing is within my own strength. Not my joy, not my parenting, not my bylines, not my dreams. I know I should rest easy is the knowledge that nothing happens without God’s hand and I cannot thwart His plans for me if I tried.
It’s time to stop wailing on the couch.