My girls and I watched a cute movie the other day, Forrest Gump. I’d seen it before but wanted to watch it with them. Now we can’t get his quote out of our heads, said with Forrest’s unique Alabama accent, “Momma always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.'”
As I was watching this movie again, I realized how innocent Forest was. He had a low IQ but was was very intelligent about loving people. He seemed to miss all of the evil that was going on around him and just loved the people in his life unconditionally, especially his life-long love, Jenny.
Ever since Forrest and Jenny were children, she would try to protect him from hurtful people and he loved her. Jenny came from an abusive home and as she grew up was always looking for something more exciting than Forrest. She tried drugs, abusive boyfriends, and lived a pretty rough life. She would see Forrest now and then and he would always ask her to stay with him, but she would leave again, restless for the next exciting thing. He never gave up on her.
Finally Jenny returns to Forrest one last time and tells him she is sick. He marries her and takes her home. Finally, when she has no where else to turn, she returns to the one who has always loved her, and he cares for her until her death.
Forrest never stopped loving his Jenny, never gave up on her, never rejected her or turned her away, despite her life-long search for something more exciting. This reminded me of God and the book if Hosea in the Bible, where God told Hosea to take a prostitute for a wife and love her even as she kept leaving him and going to other men. Hosea did not to give up on her. He always took her back and loved her as his wife.
Hosea is an allegory of God choosing to love us despite our constant wandering to what we think is more exciting and fulfilling than God, though we are often hurting ourselves in the process. Then we finally wander ourselves out and long for the One who truly loves us. God never rejects us and is waiting with open arms for our return to nurse our wounds from our reckless living. He takes us home, cares for us tenderly, holds us, and we are loved unconditionally as we were always meant to be. We are finally home.
“[After leaving his father, taking his inheritance, and wasting it in wild living, the son runs out of money.] So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20 NIV84)