The first time I read that God told his prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute I almost fell out of my chair.
I said, “come again, Lord?” Of course there are struggles in life as a believer, but when it comes to your intimate relationship there’s supposed to be peace right? Song of Solomon is filled with beautiful imagery of the perfect intimacy in marriage and marrying a prostitute doesn’t really line up the expectations Solomon set.
Hosea marrying a prostitute is to serve as example of how “Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the LORD and worshiping other gods (Hosea 1:2)." Hosea’s wife, Gomer lives up to her title and becomes unfaithful in marriage and Hosea is led to pursue her with unconditional love. Not knowing how she will respond, he lays his pride aside to fully give himself to one woman knowing full well that rejection could be his end result.
Despite the potential heartbreak, he is courageous enough to embrace potential emotional carnage all for what he might gain if he recaptures Gomer’s affection and faithfulness. He wasn’t scared to get embarrassed. He put all of his cards on the table- heart in hand because he loved her even when she didn’t love him.
Sounds a little like the heart of the Father calling all of his children into eternal fellowship with him knowing some will deny him until death. Sounds a little like the Holy Spirit that dwells within believers that daily chose to disobey his promptings to be obedient and holy. It also sounds a little like Jesus entering a relationship with his disciples to train them knowing that in his greatest time of need they would fall asleep during the prayer meeting, Peter would deny him three times, and Judas would trade his life for monetary gain.
The heart of a believer is called to be broken over and over again because of the evils we see in the world. Heaven is in our hearts and until the kingdom of God fully comes, we live with holy discontentment and our hearts are continually broken because of it. But, there is another type of heartbreak the scriptures don’t directly mention that is a reality, particularly for single men- The heartbreak of pursuing a woman.
Use your imagination for a moment. While a woman maybe plagued with impatience as she awaits her Boaz to ask her hand in courtship, the gentleman has a completely different set of trials.
The phrase “Christian dating” is difficult in itself because of all the ideas out there about how it’s supposed to be done. There is no system to nail it, so inevitably guys get it wrong. The man that believes in prayerful, calculated steps in pursuing a woman loses more than what some women might realize.
When a man is interested and believes in guarding a woman’s heart, even in the dating phase, he’ll probably take his time before making an approach. He will pray. He will observe. He will talk to people about her to get a solid opinion and pray some more. Then, when he’s confident the Lord has given him the ok to move forward, he asks her out for coffee and she says no.
Then, there are the instances when she says yes and he may mention his goal to be intentional, pure, and spirit-led during their dating. She thinks he’s taking this thing way too seriously for a first date and jets for the hills.
Sometimes, he will take his time to build a solid friendship before making intentions clear and she becomes upset that he’s being too passive.
So, then he comes strong with his game next time and she calls him “bro” and shuts his entire pursuit down.
The scenarios are endless. When there is little to no guideline of two people with no idea what the other person’s ideals are, there’s bound to be a little disappointment.
But, I think God is ok with the disappointment that men endure when they get turned down. God feels rejection from somewhere around the world at every moment, but still pursues us for what he might gain. In the same way, men have to embrace the potential rejection that comes in the healthy pursuit of a woman. No part of the Trinity is exempt from disappointment and if men are called to love their bride as Christ loves his church, then we get good practice even before the first date.
Men cannot go out and simply “pick a wife.” Sometimes that pick just isn’t interested. The picture of women being emotionally engaged in a situation headed to nowhere is told too often, but the emotionally engaged man pursuing a woman who decides she isn’t interested is a bit of a novelty.
Men catch it from all corners in regards to dating. He is either too aggressive, too passive, or he’s ugly and she isn’t checking for him anyway. But! There is encouragement in all of the madness.
The scripture tells us that what God put together, let no man separate. The truth of the matter is that you can be intentional, prayerful, and carry the biggest bible to win her heart over, but it may not help. Her heart is to be given by God and not won by you. There is a subtle distinction between the toil of working for a woman that was never meant for you and being given a woman’s heart and simply re-earning it day by day. In the end, we have to trust God’s sovereignty just like everyone else. We will get curved for no good reason, but that’s ok. If you are to be married, God has already begun to form your forever and along with all the careful things you’ve done in the past, I would add be patient.
Curve us quickly. Do not allow your Christian brother’s heart to dangle on the line of your personal flattery. Have a little more compassion. If you like him back, but insist on him leading, give him silent cues. Blink your eyebrows really hard when he comes around. Like some photos. Get his attention without grabbing it. Because if you hadn’t realized it yet- men are clueless when it comes to women. Especially women we really like. We lose all common sense.
Also be encouraged that God has been intentional about your forever, forever.
The singleness journey among believers can seem like traveling through the wilderness for 40 years when the journey should only take a few weeks. It can be a dry place emotionally, but even in the wilderness God provided for his children what they needed until they were ready to receive their promise.