“Wanna do a concert in my hometown?” my friend, Lori, asked.
It was 1988, and I’d just recorded a CD. Lori thought it would be great if I could sing at some churches in the tiny Mississippi town she’d grown up in. So she then called uncles and aunts and cousins—and friends of uncles and aunts and cousins—until we had a whole hometown tour booked!
One of those nights, I was scheduled to sing in a coffeehouse. When we arrived, the manager warned me, “We could have a full house or nobody at all. I couldn’t afford to advertise.” I told him I was just grateful for the opportunity. And it was true—at first.
But then the local winning Little League team and all of their family members busted through the front door. They were loud and sweaty and hooped and hollered over my singing.
Now I faced an audience who I knew—even though I couldn’t see them—wasn’t looking at me or listening to me. Trying to hide my humiliation, I just kept singing. The longer I sang, the louder they got.
I felt obvious and invisible all at the same time. Have you ever felt that way?
Someone else has felt this way too—even more so than I did that night in the coffeehouse. Her name was Gomer. While I really don’t know her personally, I know her story because it’s in the Old Testament book of Hosea.
Her story begins with her marriage. Here’s the backstory: One day, God surprised the prophet Hosea with a memorable message: his bachelor days were up. But this good news came with some bad news. He would marry a beautiful woman named Gomer, whom he loved. But she would break his heart and leave him betrayed and bewildered.
This would not be the end of the story, though. Not by a long shot! You see, Gomer’s wanderings would take her from man to man, until eventually, she would end up on a slave block—humiliated and hopeless. Talk about feeling obvious and invisible all at once.
Yet even though she was alone on that slave block, she was not forgotten. While Gomer was feeling unloved, God’s love was planning a rescue—a plan to buy her back. Hosea showed up at the slave auction and paid 30 pieces of silver for Gomer—the price of a slave.
But Hosea didn’t treat her as a slave, he took her back as his beloved wife. Hosea rescued Gomer, removed her chains, redeemed her, and restored her to her rightful and true identity as his wife.
The sin so obvious to herself and others became invisible when love redeemed her. Her shame and indignity were covered by his grace and acceptance.
The same is true for you and me. God not only redeems us, but He also restores us.
God loves you so much that He paid the ultimate price—Jesus—to buy you back from sin’s slavery and to bring you home. What was lost in the garden was redeemed on the cross. What sin destroyed in Eden, God restored through Calvary!
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he [and she] is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Just as Hosea did for Gomer, God takes away our indignity, shame, and humiliation. All the sin and shame Satan wants to keep so obvious to you, Jesus makes invisible through His grace and forgiveness! Truly my friend, He makes all things new.
So, if shame makes you feel painfully obvious or if sin has made your identity practically invisible, look in the mirror today and see Gomer looking back at you. She was beloved—chosen, accepted, and loved—and so are you.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God … and so we are” (1 John 3:1).
This post originally appeared on JenniferRothschild.com and was republished with permission.
Jennifer Rothschild has written 14 books, including the bestseller Lessons I Learned in the Dark and Me, Myself, and Lies. She’s been featured on Good Morning America and Dr. Phil and is the founder of Fresh Grounded Faith events. Jennifer became blind at age 15 and now helps others live beyond limits.