Gomer lifted her twisted fingers to her sunken cheeks, wiping the tears that freely flowed, then looking at her tear soaked fingers, she silently mused, “I thought my tears had all dried up.” The wind continued to howl, and the small fire was slowly dying, as the brisk sound of footsteps brought Gomer from her silent reverie, causing a chill of fear to run up her spine. “O Lord, he’s back,” Gomer desperately prayed. “Lord, I know I’ve given You no reason to forgive me or to hear me, but please, please have mercy on me! Don’t let him rape me and beat me again tonight – please! Save me Lord!”
At the sound of his raucous laughter, Gomer scurried away from the fire, into the darkest corner of the room, hoping he wouldn’t notice her, as she shrunk down in terror. “Gomer!” the drunken beast called as he entered the room, “Come here,” he said as he fell down beside the fire. Fearfully, Gomer crept to him, being careful not to speak and send him into a drunken rage. She knelt at his feet and waited for him to speak to her. “She won’t bring much with all those bruises and that bony body,” he mumbled to himself. “Stand up and let me look at you, Woman!” he bellowed, and though she tried, her bony legs didn’t have the strength to hold her up, and she crumpled to the floor, cringing as she waited for the first blow to fall.
“Please Yaweh!” Gomer desperately prayed silently, “Have mercy on me, O God, because of Your unfailing love. Because of Your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my shameful deeds — they haunt me day and night. Against You, and You alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in Your sight. You will be proved right in what You say, and Your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner — yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But You desire honesty from the heart, so You can teach me to be wise in my inmost being. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; You have broken me — now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence, and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You. Then I will teach Your ways to sinners, and they will return to You. Help me Lord!” It became apparent that he wasn’t going to hit her after all, and slowly, shrinkingly, Gomer lifted her tear stained face up to look at the man – her tormentor, as he gruffly handed her a piece of bread.
“Eat this,” he said gruffly. “You need to build up your strength.”
Fearfully, gratefully, Gomer took the bread, and though she was starved, she lifted it up towards heaven and thanked Yaweh, truly thankful for the first time she silently spoke these words to Him, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all my iniquities, Who heals all my diseases, Who redeems my life from destruction, Who crowns me with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies my mouth with good things, So that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Then quickly, she gobbled the bread down before he changed his mind and took it from her, and when he offered her some water, she gratefully gulped that down too.
It had been many days since Gomer had eaten, and though she still loathed him and was fearful of him, she was also grateful for the food he gave her. “Got to build up her strength for a few days,” he mumbled to himself, as he drifted off to sleep in a drunken stupor. Gomer wasn’t sure what he had in store for her, but she knew that whatever it was, it wouldn’t be good. Still, for the first time in who knows how long, she had some food in her belly. He would probably sleep for hours, so Gomer quietly slinked back to the dark corner where she had hidden before.
“Could it be that Hosea was right?” she whispered to herself. “Could it be that Elohim cares for me – even now, after all I’ve done?” Her heart traveled back to another time, shortly after she and Hosea were married, as they walked back to their home following a visit to Jerusalem. “Did you hear what they said about me?” she wept, as Hosea held her close.
“I heard,” Hosea replied softly. “Listen Gomer, it’s easier for people to condemn someone else than it is for them to look at themselves -”
“But they hate me!” she sobbed.
“Yes, they hate you, and they hate me because I speak the Word of the Lord. You mustn’t worry about what man thinks of you. Instead, see what our heavenly Father thinks about you. That’s far more important, and Gomer, He loves you with a love that won’t let you go. No matter where life takes us, no matter what we do, He will always love His children. He may have to chastise you and punish you for bad behavior, but He still loves you with an everlasting love, and so do I.” He stopped and lifted her chin, gently kissing her. “All Adonai wants, and all that I want in return is to have your love.”
“Gomer, I knew about your past when I asked you to marry me, and I loved you then. Now, you’re my wife, and you’re carrying my child in your womb, and I still love you with all of my heart. You are more beautiful to me now than ever, and I want to shower you with all of my love, so that you will never want for anything! Let people talk if they want, as long as we love the Lord, and as long as we have each other, let them think and say what they will,” Hosea said laughing and kissing her again, as they continued toward their home.
“O Lord, is it true?” Gomer whispered in the dark dreary little room. “Do You really love me with a love that won’t let me go? An everlasting love? How can this be? And is it really true that all You want from me is my love? Yaweh, I know I’ve been unfaithful to You, but I see now that You are all I have. And I don’t have anything else to offer You but my love. Lord, will You accept the love of a harlot?” Gomer whispered as she drifted off to sleep…
Cheryl A. Showers