God describes himself this way: “I taught Ephraim [Israel] to walk, taking them by their arms; but they did not know that I healed them” (Hosea 11:3, NKJV). In the original language, this verse reads more like “I came to them in their despair and tenderly nursed them through foul, rugged places. I held them in my arms as a nurse.” However, Hosea 11:7 says, “My people are bent on backsliding from me.” The word ‘bent’ here means “hanging in suspense, hanging in doubt.”

Israel was not sure of the Lord’s love and tenderness, and God was saying to Hosea, “My people are doubting my love for them. They do not really know me, and they are unsure of my love.”

It was true! Israel could not believe God still loved them. They were idolaters, backsliders and doubters; and they were probably thinking, “We brought God’s displeasure on ourselves. We sinned willfully, and he will surely judge us.” All of this despite God saying, “How can I give you up, Ephraim? …My heart churns within me; my sympathy is stirred” (Hosea 11:8).

Listen to his words of comfort and healing for you.

“For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would fail before me, and the souls which I have made” (Isaiah 57:16). The Lord was saying, “If all you saw in me was anger, your spirit would fail because it would be too overwhelming.”

“For the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry and struck him; I hid and was angry, and he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, and restore comforts to him and to his mourners” (Isaiah 57:17-18). Does this sound like God gives up on his people when they fail?

You may be going through deep waters right now. I do not mean temptation or trials necessarily. I am talking about overwhelming events that are being thrust on you that you cannot understand. Winds and waves of all kinds are flooding you, things beyond your comprehension. They are coming to your home, your church, your job, on all sides; but God wants to carry you through it all. He wants to restore you to spiritual health. If all you can believe right now is that he loves you in spite of all your stubborn ways, that he begs you to see him as your divine nurse, then that is enough!