Throughout biblical history the Israelites have gone through ups and downs in their worship. Sometimes they band together and pledge their eternal allegiance to the one and only true God. Then at other times they turn around become completely obsessed with worshipping the idols of the surrounding nations.
I have never been able to understand this. Surely they could see how big their God was. Surely they could see that worshipping these false idols would bring them no long term gain. They were nothing but wood or stone and completely perishable. But because they had allowed themselves to be surrounded by them, they became overrun. It’s what people talked about. It’s what they thought about. It became the central focus of their lives. God became less important and slowly drifted out of their conscious minds.
I don’t worship idols. I don’t bow down to images carved into wood or stone. I only believe in the one true God. So I’m good. I’m not an idol worshipper right?
To a lot of Christians the temptation to bow before a piece of wood doesn’t seem quite so appealing these days. We have scripture clearly pointing out to us the dangers and inaccuracies of false gods. But was that all God really meant when He asked us not to become involved with idolatry?
I’m sure most of you know the answer is of course not.
Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines idolatry as
1: the worship of a physical object as a god
2: immoderate attachment or devotion to something
Idols are not just false gods. They can be anything that we become overly attached to. Do you spend more time thinking about your job than God? Do you spend more time thinking about your home or your clothes? What about your friends and family?
I know that at different times I have been guilty in all of these areas. At times anyone of these areas can become a big focus that draws me away from God for a short time. Normally these things only take hold of me for a short time and then the fun and excitement of them dies off and I remember who I truly worship. But recently things have been a little more complicated than that.
Yesterday I was looking into idolatry and it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I have been bowing down and prostrating myself to the god of infertility.
If you have looked at many other of my blog posts you will know by now that for the last few years I have been struggling away with longing for a baby. As the years have gone by it’s gotten harder and harder to deal with. It has gotten to the point where it has literally consumed my mind. It’s all I think about. It makes me feel sick. I have a lot of anxiety and panic attacks about it. I get so deeply depressed that I can’t do a thing.
What you spend time thinking about is what you eventually become. I’ve spent so much time thinking about infertility that eventually it has become my identity. Now when I look in the mirror all I see is a broken, useless woman whose body can’t do what it should naturally be able to do.
Quite unintentionally infertility has become my god.
I know you may not understand this. Just like I don’t understand why the people of Israel worshipped statues of stone. I guess like the Israelites were surrounded by physical wooden statues and peer pressure to worship them I have been surrounded by pregnant people, fertility specialists and a deep, overwhelming desire to be a mum.
I will tell you now that infertility is a sucky god. There is nothing satisfying long term by worshipping it. It is nothing and it is perishable. Just as if it was made of wood or stone. There is only one God who can satisfy us truly and give us a lasting hope.
So now I’m on my journey back to God. As of yesterday I am trying to make Him my number one priority again.
Hosea really spoke to me when it comes to this so I would like to paraphrase now in this context.
Me: “I will say no more, ‘my God,’ to the work of my hands.”
God: “I will heal your apostasy; I will love you freely, for my anger has turned from you. You shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; you shall flourish like the grain; you shall blossom like the vine.”
Hosea 14:3,4 & 7
I am blessed to have a most merciful God!