You would assume that she would be overjoyed at this new life…this new opportunity. She no longer had to live with the shame of her past or her past profession. This man was offering her the chance to break free and live in a way she never imagined she would be able to. He was offering her a home and a family. She would have children and grandchildren to live out her days with. She would have love, security, and the chance to live as others lived. Isn’t that what she had always wanted? But the lure of the old life just wouldn’t go away. The gifts she received from all those men…the temptation was just too much. So she snuck away, back into the harlotry and prostitution she was accustomed to. She sought after the payment she received… the wool, the linen, the oils and the wine. It was just too good to pass up. Until…it was stripped away and she had no place to turn. No place except back to the husband who had willingly taken her, despite her past. And when she went groveling back, he offered her a welcome far beyond what she felt she deserved. He offered her comfort and shelter. He offered her grace and compassion. He offered her his love. This may be the story of Hosea and Gomer, but it is also our story. God is a God of provision. He offers us everything we need for a complete life. Yet sometimes we are not satisfied with what we have. Temptation shows up…giving us a glimpse at what we COULD have. And you know the old phrase…the grass is always greener. So we go in search of “the other side”. We walk away from obedience in Christ. We walk away from spending time with Him. We walk away from His love and mercy, because something else looks more promising. Sometimes it is the little things like our phone screens where we can find just about anything, or our televisions that we can waste entirely too much time on. Other times, it is something on a larger scale. We turn to food, drugs or alcohol to satisfy the cravings. Or perhaps, a little more like Gomer, looking for love in all the wrong places. We find ourselves, much like the prodigal son found himself, acutely aware that our choices were wrong and our mistakes enormous — our hope dissolved into nothingness. That is where our God finds us. Right there in the middle of our sin places, in the midst of our desolation and hopelessness, He reaches out to not only embrace us, but to pull us in for a great big hug. Through His strength, most definitely not our own, we can turn from those chains that bind us and return to His grace, love and healing. And when we return to Him, the welcome is always far greater than we feel we deserve. His arms are wide open. His heart is full of love and forgiveness. He is our hope. He is our strength. He is our home.