Love Letter
Based on Old Testament Hosea 1-3
(Written by Jaclyn Tepe)

Imagine a person whom you love very much. Imagine the letter you would write to this person if you stopped to describe the things you love, the characteristics you admire, and the depth of your devotion. Now, consider what this letter would look like if you were writing it after learning that your beloved had deserted your for the love of others. Would it be the same? Would it be bitter? Would it be stained with tears? What emotion would it most strongly convey? Hosea was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom during the prosperous reign of King Jeroboam II. He was told by God to take a wife, but more explicitly, an adulterous wife. Hosea's life was a physical analogy of God's love for his adulterous people.

My Beloved,

Remember, I love you and have always loved you. Nothing you do can change that love. From the beginning, we were united in a covenant of love, of responsibility, of devotion. I chose you and you chose me. There were plenty of other choices that could have been made, but only I could satisfy the love you craved. And you, you were mine. I cared for you, I protected you, and I provided for you. I was devoted to you as no one else could ever be.

But then, you left. You sought the love of another to fill the void you discovered in your soul. I would have filled that void; in fact, I tried to, but as long as you did not wholly belong to me, I could not wholly satisfy you. It pained me to see my love thrown aside as if were spoiled food. It had once been pleasing, it had once filled you…but then you grew tired of it. It became old, and you threw it away. Oh, how I wanted you to see the futility of the love you were seeking from others. They did not love you as I loved you. You were to them the spoiled food that I was to you. You served your purpose and then you too, were cast aside. I did not understand how you could not see the difference between my love and theirs. I could not understand why my love was no longer what you sought. I could not understand why you ever left me.

"But what about my love?" I thought. It was still there! I still longed for you. Though you were not with me, I still cared for you. I did not leave, I did not quit…it was you who abandoned me. But I did not give up. No! I determined that my love would always be there for you when you decided to return. For I knew that you would grow tired of the emptiness that could not be filled…and then you would remember me. You would recall our love and return, hoping that once again I could fill the void that had never quite been appeased since you had left. And sometimes, it was me who sought you, and brought you back into my outstretched arms. I was glad when I could rescue you, but I would have even been more ecstatic if it had been you who had decided to return to me. And even though we were together, it was not immediately easy for you to return my love.

For there was still pain. It hurt me that even though I had chosen you, you had forsaken me. My eyes filled with tears when I saw the disappointment you had incurred when seeking satisfaction elsewhere. What about me? How could you have forgotten me? Was I really not enough? No, if you had been content to give yourself to me…wholly and completely as I had done for you, then you would have found more than enough to satiate your thirsting soul. But you scorned the idea of loving me only and placing me above the love of others, above the love of wealth and power, above…and so you left.

Once you were gone, there was little I could do. I could only watch while you suffered the consequences of your actions. I could only wait until the day that you would return. Don't think I enjoyed watching the pain you endured even though the pain you had caused me had been great. No! I hurt with you. When you cried out in anguish, I was there joining my voice with yours. When you wept bitter tears of shame and sorrow, my eyes also poured out the salty drops. Look up, I thought. See my hand! I am reaching, I am waiting…I want to help you. But you must first turn towards me and accept my help.

Only once you acknowledge that it is only I that will help you will we be able to start to mend our relationship. The covenant between us is strong, but we each have a part that we must fulfill. Love requires responsibility. For in upholding my responsibility to you, I demonstrate the greatest love, the love of self-sacrifice. Remember me, for I cannot forget you. Though you leave, I remain. Though you deny our love, I affirm its existence. Though you bow your head in shame, I proudly proclaim my connection with you. No matter where you go, whom you turn to, or how long you're gone, I will always be here. I will always be waiting. My love will always be here and it will always be yours.

I love you, and will always love you.

Hosea