Last night I attended church, and the pastor there mentioned the book of Hosea. Hosea tells about Gomer, his wife, or is it Israel that the story is about? Theologians can't decide, so I'm sure I can't. Nevertheless, I choose to believe, for the sake of my story today, that it is about a woman of, shall we say ill repute? That's the nice way to put it. God told Hosea to marry her, even knowing what kind of woman she was, and Hosea obeyed. And he didn't argue with God, and he didn't fuss or complain about it, and he didn't complain about her. He just simply obeyed God.
Since the day I first heard the story of Hosea I have had a very soft spot for it. I have always thought I would have liked to have known Gomer. She was a very interesting woman and most certainly required a lot of understanding to really know her. Some would call her evil and dirty, not worthy to be thought about except with disgust. Some might give her a chance, but never a second chance. Even to the people who didn't know God she would have been considered trash, filthy, stinking garbage. But, with all my heart I believe that these are the dear ones who need God's people the most, to love them, to encourage them and wrap their arms around them, draw them close enough to really smell them, and show them the true love of God.
People like Gomer have never experienced real love. Lots of times they have been mistreated to the point that they believe there is no such thing. Some have experienced physical intimacy and deceived into believing that this is love. So, they search and search for a love that never comes, building walls against people, living lies with bad reputations and no thought for anyone but themselves. It's a black pit of hopelessness that they dig and can never find the way out. And all the time all they want is to be wanted and loved.
Amazingly, I definitely have known some Gomers. Some of the Gomers I've known I had to leave behind due to their lack of response to the Truth or due to their total disdain of it. A very few of the Gomers I've known are now healed and love God and are loved by God's people, and they walk in Truth. They are miraculous stories of how God never gives up on us, never stops loving us even when we may be garbage.
If we say "yes" to God as Hosea did, we can reach out to every unbeliever, no matter how evil or filthy we believe them to be. Under all that filth is a child that God loves and wants in His family. When I turn away it's possible that I was the only one that God could use to help win that one that He loves so much.
And then God uses that new child of the kingdom to reach out to others. Imagine. Gomer can be out there winning souls for Jesus Christ!
I don't want to say "no" to God. I don't want to have to answer for the soul that didn't come because I wouldn't obey Him. As a former "Gomer", I know well how different a life can be when you know the Truth. I understand the miraculous effects of coming from a life of lies and filthy rags to being a "sweet perfume" to our loving Father. I know intimately the majestic Father, His Son, and His Spirit that leads my life and makes me, imagine it, more like Jesus every day.
I pray that each one of us can meet and learn to love a "Gomer". There is so much that they need to know about what true love is all about. And we have so much to learn about the wonderful miracles that God performs even today. There is a chance for each one, for God loves each one specially and completely, no matter how they smell.