I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. Hosea 11:4

parent child

What an amazing word picture the prophet Hosea gives us. In the midst of his letter of rebuke to God’s people, he gives a picture of his undying love for us! Hosea married an unfaithful woman. He knew she was unfaithful when he married her, yet he remained faithful to her in the midst of her waywardness.

“Like one who lifts a little child to the cheek.”

Those of us who are parents or grandparents need no physical picture to visualize the situation. How often, especially in those first days of life, do we pick up this new life, this miracle of human birth, and gently kiss his or her cheek.

As they grow older, they venture away from us, taking those first steps, enduring those first falls, experiencing those first rejections. And in the midst of their pain, they come home.

My teenage daughter has crossed the line from ‘little girl’ to ‘womanhood.’ When she was little, I’d hold her close to me and she’d lay her head on my shoulder. If she was tired she’d nestle into the crook of my neck and I’d lay my head on her cheek. Often, this is where she would fall asleep.

Now, of course, she’s ‘more refined’. She’s grown up. The kisses on the lips at nighttime are no more, but she leans in so I can kiss her cheek.

My daughter isn’t perfect. She wanders, she strays, she makes choices that are…well, childish. Does that take away my love? Of course not! And so it is with our heavenly Father.

We get caught up in the concerns of life. We make choices that weaken or destroy relationships or put us in financial turmoil. We lose sight of what’s important and stray from what we know is right.

Even though we stray and stumble and rebel, our Father never leaves. Our ‘Heavenly Daddy’ is right where he always has been. And He’s more than willing to hold us close to his cheek and remind us of his love.

PRAYER: Father God. At times I confess I take your love for granted. I lose sight of the passionate, intimate love you have for me. I go my own way and find myself dealing with the consequences. Thank you for your unconditional, eternal love. Thank you for holding me close to you; for holding me cheek to cheek. Amen.