I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt. Hosea 2:15
Dear People Who Keep Company with God,
When we speak of being “in the valley,” we refer to a place of difficulty and trial that all of us experience from time to time. But the valley Hosea describes is more problematic than most to navigate. The word for trouble is Achor, meaning churning waters, troubling, afflicted. It expresses a picture of dangerous turbulence. The imaginary is whitewater rapids on a river at flood stage. We, as a nation and the church, are in such a time. But the God of Israel promises His covenant people, that He will turn the place of difficulty, danger, and fear into a gateway of hope.
One of the aspects of our faith is learning to overcome and navigate through distressing times. A person who does not know how to respond to adversity is like someone with a shallow heart described in the Parable of the Sower. “When tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, he immediately falls because he has no root, but only endures for a while.” (Matthew 13:21) In difficult times, we discover how shallow we are. He reveals our shallowness to deepen and strengthen our hearts not to condemn us. “Hope in the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart” (Psalm 27:14). King David grew into “a man after God’s own heart” by hoping in the Lord (Acts 13:22).
Hope also produces in us godly confidence. “We who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.” (Hebrews 6:18) Confidence is a deciding factor in the difference between success and failure in every part of life. In trying times, the enemy will tempt us to cower, quit, and give in to fear. But, if we stay under the shadow of His wings and hope in Him, there will be no loss of confidence. We will grow bold like lions.
Hope gives us peace of mind and emotional stability in an increasingly hostile and unstable world because it anchors our soul in the heavenly realm (Hebrews 6:19). Just as a ship uses an anchor to keep it from drifting unnecessarily hope moors our minds in things above(Colossians 3:1-3). Our hope empowers us to endure, persevere, and overcome.
If the sorrow and loss we experience are to become a gateway of hope, it must be because our fear and pain lead us to the Cross. As the old hymn says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. When darkness veils His lovely face, I’ll rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy day, my anchor holds within the veil.” The Cross reveals that God understands our suffering, loss, fears, failure, and sins. He took it all upon Himself. Hope begins as we humble ourselves, surrender once again to Christ, and cast all that troubles us upon Him.
Many Blessings, BW