Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 304: Hosea 3-4; Psalm 99; Matthew 1

The Infinite and Deeply Challenging Love of God
From time to time, people of faith are pushed to their limits...at least the limits they might have set for themselves. We know we can put up with a lot; but when does "a lot" become "just too much?" I have learned enough about life to know that we all have breaking points that differ, sometimes dramatically from our neighbors. What is beyond the pale for some is endurable for others. What is not so bad for some is excrutiating for others.
And yet, God loving us is always able to not only take us up to our self-constructed and self-imposed limitations; God is also about the business of expanding and redefining what we think we can handle. It's on that ragged fringe that today we resume our walk with Hosea and turn once again to join Matthew in his agonizing about what to do with the news that his betrothed is with child, a child he has not fathered.
Hosea is challenged with marrying women whose prostitution is an analog for Israel's and Judah's apostacy. His children bear names for the shame of the people of God. Joseph is told to accept the apparent dishonor of an out of wedlock birth of a child whom he is to foster with an assurance that the path will be most difficult. Both men are, I am sure, aware of being pushed way past their personal limits.
It isn't easy to go to that place that is just on the othet side of our assumed, personal limits, but it is on that holy ground wherein God seems to do God's best work with and through us.
May God give us the strength we need to rise to the personal challenges we are given in order that a witness to grace be made known in the world. For that, I am willing to surrender a limitation or two.

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