‘Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.’ (v1) Hosea 6:1–6

Jesus’ earthly life reveals that no one can avoid pain. As we age we observe, and draw encouragement from the fact that many build their testimony to God’s presence in life’s storms. When trauma strikes, we seek to defend ourselves as best we can.

Most often, those closest to us bear the burden of our reaction, a product of pain and shame. Maybe we’re safest with those we bleed all over; or that they choose and refuse to distance themselves when confronted with the brutality of our lostness and grief.

Trials are no guarantee of maturing faith but are guaranteed to shake us to the core. We feel all we’ve entrusted to God, our faith and service counts for nothing. We’re then tempted to blame God. Good news, God can absorb our worst reactions; I say that as one who collapsed beneath the weight of my greatest trial.

My shame dissipated as I accepted I was simply unravelling, and I gasped in wonder at discovering how God loves me at my absolute worst. When I felt most alone – abandoned by those I needed, yet whom I most likely had driven from my side through my despicable behaviour – God was there. Very slowly, with reluctance and uncertainty, I chose to ‘return to the Lord’.

I was gently healed and, whilst I still carry the scars and walk with a limp, I love God in a way I had never previously known. Each of us can find this road of return to God’s never-ending love, although we may find it hard to recognise the person God moulds from the tears and ashes of our bitter experiences.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Psa. 34:4–18; 147:1–11; 2 Cor. 1:3–11; 1 Pet. 4:12–19. 

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Can you accept that, at your very worst, God still loves you? We are not defined by our mistakes, but by God’s confidence in us and the faith we choose to place in God. 

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, thank You that You bind up my wounds and heal my deepest pain. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.