As Valentine's Day comes round this year, in the midst of all the chocolates and flowers, wouldn't we all like to know that we are loved extravagantly, unconditionally, and just for who we are? The movie Amazing Love: The Story of Hosea reminds us that we in fact are. Even when we manifestly don't deserve it.
It is the beautiful portrayal of the Bible prophet Hosea and his unfailing love for his prostitute wife, as told to a group at a youth camp.
Sean Astin (best known for his role as Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings) plays Pastor Stuart, who takes a group of his church's teenagers on a trip into the great outdoors. Joining them is unchurched and troubled Ashley who feels left out and misunderstood by the others. Stuart uses the group's infighting as an opening to tell them Hosea's story, about a man who keeps forgiving his unfaithful wife and taking her back although she claims she will "never be tamed".
The Bible uses this as an illustration of God's unconditional, all-forgiving love for His people, who keep betraying Him by following other gods and sinning, but whom He continues to woo back to Himself. As Austin's character says "It is a picture of God's amazing love for us."
The movie interweaves scenes from the modern-day camp ground and the dynamics between the teenagers, with scenes set in ancient Israel between Hosea and his bride Gomer. It has some good acting (although also some predictably typecast characters), beautiful scenery, and a deep and powerful plot.
This movie is mature, yet with no sex scenes, violence, or profanity. It is however, not really suitable for young children, as it deals with themes of prostitution and adultery. And make sure you have those tissues handy!
Whether you have someone to spoil you or not, this Valentine's, know that there is a God who deeply values and longs for relationship with you.
Amazing Love was released in 2012 and is available only on DVD or download.•