By Kenneth Stepp
I read the most amazing love story almost thirty years ago. I do not think I have thought about it since. It is the story of Hosea and Gomer in the old testament minor prophets. Hosea was an older gentleman with financial means. Gomer was a party girl and a real looker. She was the town beauty, the one everyone wanted. The life of the party. Hosea was more rigid and boring. Most wondered how they would ever make it when they announced they were to be married. They were so different. Age, means, ideology, and looks. But marry they did, and a tragic and beautiful journey began.
Because his young wife wanted to be a part of the jet setter crowd, Hosea went with her practically every night. Partying the night away, she did love the lime light. They began a fast paced life. They were really part of the happenings everywhere. But Hosea was a more serious man, he didn’t want to party every night. So they made a deal. To keep their marriage together, they compromised. Hosea would come home early, and Gomer would come home later, with her friends. After a while Gomer would go out with her friends, and he would relax at home, she would come home late. No doubt, the beginning of what should have been the end of this story.
Gomer partied every night, she would come home late. Then the inevitable happened. She went out, and didn’t come back, she just disappeared. She was the party girl. Beautiful, laughing and joking all the time, and you could say, she became the favorite plaything of the jet setters of that society. They played with her until one day, they began looking for younger toys to play with. People don’t often think of it, until one day we discover crows feet beside our eyes. And we notice we begin to sag in places that were tight and smooth before. And we notice we are no longer the darling of the popular crowd. So Gomer started her descent, as she went from being the play thing of the jet setters to being the play thing of whoever wanted a play thing. And when they tired of her, she became a prostitute. But even a prostitute has to have some appeal. When she could no longer attract customers, she became a slave.
Hosea searched for her nonstop. He couldn’t find her. His only goal in life was to find his bride. You see, he loved his wife, even though she had been gone a long period of time. He, being a businessman and knowing the ways of the world, he began searching for her in the slave markets. Finally one day the slave master brought this haggard, tangled haired mess on the selling block. The crowd was laughing and yelling, who would ever pay anything for that beaten down old hag? Hosea recognized this woman as his dear Gomer. From the back Hosea yelled, fifteen pieces of silver! The crowd turned to see who would pay such a price. That is more than you would pay for a young strong male servant. As he made the way to the front to pay, the cat calls were ringing out. Everyone was laughing at the foolish thing this strange old man had done. He took her home. Not as a servant, but as his wife. This was their home not his.
This is a great story of one that valued someone beyond what others could see. Beyond their ego, shame, and anger. Saving her and restoring her was the goal. They restored the relationship that they once had. To show unconditional love. This kind of love exists. I have experienced it. This love never ends, it endures forever. It’s a wonderfully painful kind of love.