The prophet Hosea warned against Israel’s coming destruction for their idolatry and sinfulness. His life was a metaphor representing the severity of their sin.
My dear, I love you!
Oh, how I love you so.
I remember our first meeting — your eyes, your smile. The way you turned and wormed your way into my soft and waiting heart.
We talked about much that was important. And you spoke of your family and I spoke of mine. I remember speaking more than you. You had a bitterness, my dear. Someone had damaged you. You were broken and I longed to take that brokenness away.
I prayed and prayed that your wounds might become my own. I can take it. I am strong.
Oh God, let me protect her, shield her, nurture her, heal her, uphold her, defend her, surround her, adore her, support her. When she falls, may it be my bones that are broken. When she hurts, may it be my blood that bleeds. When she cries, may it be my tears that fall. Let me be help to her.
And God said, “Let it be so.”
Marry me and be mine. Don't mind my scars and warts; let my love be handsome enough. That's what I said to you that day in the field. I promised everything and more. My soul, my heart, I pledge it all.
Only one thing I asked you. It was that you would be mine.
And you said yes. Oh, what joy I felt! I brought you into my house and you brought your woman's touch. It was enough.
Every day I went and worked and a fire was in my hands. I went and wrestled with the world so that I could bring back a piece for you. Wanting you to know comfort, I took care of you and I worked hard to undo the damage of your past. I always loved how on the weekends we would go on picnics and adventures.
However, I knew tragedy still haunted you like an evil spectre. I longed to bear your pain, but I couldn’t.
I worked and worked until one day, I returned to find your betrayal. A broken vow and for who? A man who left you nothing.
Except not nothing. A child. Oh, a cruel miracle.
In sorrow I ask you, “Why won't you be mine?”
The house feels a lot noisier now. I continue in my ways and you in yours.
A girl arrives and I receive no mercy.
In hardness I ask you, “Why can't you be mine?”
Drifting on, drifting on, you live out your pain and your grief and I live out my own: a warning to others. A holy man with a ruined reputation.
A second son, not my own, now occupies the crib.
In pity I ask you, “Can you be mine?”
And then you leave me. You run away to your lovers and boyfriends. I must admit, I was very tempted to let it happen — to let you fade away from me. After all, you had been so cruel to me in the way that you rejected and mocked me. What did I do to make you hate me?
But I remember my promise to you. Even in the face of your broken vow and in spite of my broken heart, I choose to keep my promise of love to you. It’s who I am.
So I don’t stop. I search everywhere. I run and drive and sprint and walk. Until finally, I find you standing on a rough wooden block surrounded by worthless men. One is offering 50 and another is offering 100.
I feel disgust well up in my stomach and I barely keep myself from spewing up bile from the total horror of what I see.
“HERE, TAKE EVERYTHING!” I screamed. My voice cracked, spittle was flying out of my mouth, tears were streaming down my face. I couldn’t bear it. I couldn't bear it in my marrow. I felt ill. Blood rushed to my head.
A man took my credit card and overdrew my account. But I didn’t care. I carried you down from that slaver’s block and held you.
And now at last, it’s me and you. Your face is hard and your mouth is scratched across it like a scar. But I can see a softness forming in your eyes.
I am begging you.
I am begging you.
Won’t you please, at last, at long last and forevermore, be mine, mine alone and no one else’s?
You must. You will. You shall.
Based in Christchurch, Joshua is married to Jacinda and enjoys writing as a way of keeping his thoughts in order. He also freelances. You can contact him via the bird site (Twitter) @I_do_words