Without a miracle, divorce was inevitable.
My marriage had nearly destroyed me, but I hadn’t given up on it. Reluctantly, I yielded my will to God’s—even if it meant divorce—trusting Him to do the thing I would surely ask for, if only I could see what he saw and know what He knew.
I declared that if a divorce would save my life or bring my abuser to repentance—the only things I could imagine that might make the shame and devastation of it worth it—I would accept it.
Even so, when the divorce decree arrived, it pierced me. It was the nail in the coffin not just to my marriage, but to my hope for a miracle—a series of them.
There was no way to sugar-coat it: I’d been put away. I felt used and discarded, worthless.
I grieved for the decade’s worth of love I had poured into a black hole, dreams I’d sacrificed, the time lost with my own family, the impact on my health and energy, and everything else my marriage had devoured.
The day the divorce decree arrived, I had been reading Hebrews 10. As I returned to the passage that afternoon, God reminded me that a love unrequited means nothing about the lover, or doesn’t have to.
If your best love was rejected, you’re in good company. The God who is Love itself was rejected by those He made in His likeness.
For the chance to have His image-bearers back in His arms, He spilled the blood of his own Son. There simply was no costlier mercy, no greater sacrifice. Still, we treated it like garbage.
God had thrown His pearls before swine. We trampled them underfoot.
This tragic divine love story has been playing out since the beginning of time. But God hasn’t given up on us yet.
To show His people the folly of rejecting their own Maker, He held up a mirror to them through the Prophet Hosea’s life.
Hosea was instructed to rescue Gomer, a prostitute, and marry her. But this was no ‘Pretty Woman’ love story. Gomer returned to her worthless lovers, men who only used her, and committed treachery against her husband, profaning her marriage covenant.
But Hosea forgave her, brought her home, and restored her to her place as a wife and mother—an extraordinary mercy to a woman of ill-repute. He did it, not just once, but over and over to the point of absurdity, just as God had done with His own wayward, stiff-necked people.
In God’s hands, with the Prophet Hosea’s cooperation, his life became a cautionary tale. The shocking scandal playing out before the people of God was meant to pry open their eyes and make them see themselves in this living parable, to lay bare their wickedness in rejecting the faithful Lover of their Souls for their idols, and the false gods they represented. They were fools.
Hosea must have felt like he’d thrown his love down a black hole, too, marrying Gomer. But God did not think it a waste of his life. He counted Hosea’s temporal suffering, however excruciating, worth the [potential] eternal gain.
When I told a friend I felt like I had poured my love into a black hole, she replied, “Nothing done in love is wasted.”
Her words comforted me insofar as I could believe them.
Early in my marriage, bewildered, I asked God, “What kind of love is this?
I knew about eros, phileo, and agape—kinds of loves mentioned in the New Testament—but what was this love that left me feeling bad, wrong, and hopeless?
Only much later did I understand, it wasn’t love at all—it was abuse.
The love-bombing and flattery during courtship gave me a dopamine-high designed to make an addict of me. The false promise of love was only a trap laid to capture me and defraud me.
When this “love” is doled out intermittently, like a bone to a dog, it trauma-bonds the victim to the abuser to keep her coming back between the cruelties, hoping for more “love.” It keeps her willing to do almost anything to get back what once was. Except it never was. It was only an illusion.
Love bombing is manipulation, an abuser laying the groundwork for future control.
Was your love wasted on someone who trampled it underfoot, who returned it with abuse?
If so, you have shared in the sufferings of Jesus.
Jesus himself was the best news the planet ever received. He healed the sick, brought light to darkness, and delivered good news of an eternal Kingdom. Yet, he was rejected for speaking truth to men too proud to admit they were sinners, too vested in their own kingdoms to join Jesus’s upside one, and so convinced God would never take on human flesh that they failed to recognize the God-man who stood before them.
Jesus became a thorn in their sides, so they pressed a crown of thorns into His brow.
The very ones Jesus left the realm of Heaven to rescue mocked, spurned and spit on him, the purest embodiment of Love in the universe.
They scourged the Lover of their souls, then nailed him to a cross. They treated the truest friend they ever had as if he were their worst enemy. They called what was holy “unholy.”
Jesus had poured His love into a black hole.
It was a dark ending to the most tragic love story in history—or seemed so until, in a strange and beautiful twist, God made Jesus’s murder the very means by which God would reconcile His enemies to Himself.
What his enemies meant for evil, God meant for good.
In God’s hands, their act of cruelty became His act of kindness. The grave they sent Jesus to became the venue for the miracle that would conquer death once and for all. That grave was the stage on which God displayed a love stronger than the hatred that killed Jesus.
When the enemies of God snuffed out their last chance to believe and be reconciled to their Maker, He gave them yet another.
When they thought the story was over, it had only just begun.
What I heard in my spirit the day I asked God, “What kind of love is this?” I heard, “Love your enemies.” His answer puzzled me. What did that have to do with my husband? He wasn’t my enemy, was he? Only a decade later did I see what had been there all along.
After my escape, as I prayed for a miracle, I heard in my spirit, “I’m going to do something you will have to see to believe.“ I take comfort in knowing that somehow, all the love I poured onto my abuser for more than a decade won’t be wasted. God will redeem it like He redeems all lost things. God still has the power to turn the most tragic of endings into new beginnings.
The pain and degradation the Prophet Hosea suffered through his wife’s treachery as his life was rendered a cautionary tale wasn’t wasted, not in God’s eternal Kingdom.
It wasn’t even a sacrifice. It was a trade up for something more precious than even his happiness on earth. Hosea co-labored with God to call His people back from their idol worship, back from the path of death and destruction, and be reconciled with their Maker.
God turned the prophet’s fleeting life into a powerful revelation of God’s goodness. He is able to do the same for us—turn our tragic love stories, our cautionary tales, into something of eternal value, and even eternal happiness, as we place them in His hands.
Nothing done in love is wasted.