When Carly Simon recorded “I Haven’t Got Time for the Pain” in 1974, it was a wonderful declaration of the power of moving on from hurt into healing. The irony of the title phrase in our context is that even when we don’t have time or room for the pain that we have caused ourselves, God does. The great truth of Hosea 6:1-2 is that even though we have torn and wounded ourselves, it is God who takes responsibility for the consequences of our sin, and provides the healing for it as well. Sounds like the essence of the gospel, doesn’t it?
“Come, let us return to the Lord.
For He has torn [us],
and He will heal us;
He has wounded [us],
and He will bind up our wounds.” (Hosea 6:1-2)
Let’s consider for a moment what was going on in Israel and Judah. Collectively, as the people of God, the Hebrews were once again in the middle of a well-worn cycle in their history. Typically, it went something like this: God promises to bless them if they obey the Covenant, and warns of punishment if they abandon it. They agree. Then they proceed to follow other Gods, committing adultery on their Covenant Partner. Punishment ensues, at which point they repent and cry out for deliverance. God has mercy on them, hears their cries, sends deliverance, and they rejoice in forgiveness. Until the next generation. Then they start the same cycle all over again. Hosea’s message comes in the middle of one of those cycles, so we can see that the wounds of Israel in Hosea’s time are self-inflicted. In other words, God didn’t actually tear them—they have torn themselves and are suffering the consequences of sin. God did not wound them—they have wounded themselves. And still, the Father takes responsibility for the place in which they find themselves.
Another place in Scripture where this truth is displayed is in the book of Job. Look at this passage, found in Job 42:10-11:
“10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him…” (KJV)
What?!? “The evil that the LORD had brought upon him”? Wait a minute! Isn’t it abundantly clear from the beginning of the story who is actually responsible for Job’s suffering? God never afflicted Job. Satan did. Some will say that God “passively” afflicted him since He allowed it, but it still remains that the sender of Job’s troubles was satan. But here, we see it again—God, in His sovereignty and Fatherhood, takes responsibility for the pain of His children. Why? So that he can heal them. He never says, “Well, now look what you’ve done. Good luck dealing with that! It’s not my fault your life is so messed up. Come see me again when you get it together.” And the reason He never says anything remotely like that, is because of love. Real love. The love of a Father who embraces His children in the midst of their suffering, pulls them close, and heals their wounds, no matter where those wounds have come from.
(Excerpted from A New Normal: Experiencing the Unstoppable Move of God, forthcoming from Destiny Image Publishing)