Valley of Trouble or Door of Hope
Have you ever read a passage from the bible, when a verse jumps out at you, God grabs your attention and speaks to you through it? You’ve read the passage before but had never noticed that verse there, perhaps because on previous readings it wasn’t what you needed that particular day, or perhaps you hadn’t tuned yourself to hear God’s voice, but this time it’s different because today it’s what you really need to hear from God.
I experienced this as I was reading Hosea Chapter 2. God is speaking about his people, the Israelites, who have been unfaithful to him. Despite their unfaithfulness, God is faithful in his love for them. He says to his prophet, Hosea: “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.” Hosea 2:14-15 (NKJV)
The Valley of Achor when translated means Valley of Trouble, it was a deep, difficult place to be in. Do you notice how God says he will bring his people, who he loves, into this Valley of Trouble, this wilderness, this desert place.
Is this where you find yourself right now, in a deep, difficult, troublesome place, a wilderness? You may be there as a consequence of your own actions, perhaps you have turned your back on God, been unfaithful to him, chosen to go your own way as the Israelites had done, or perhaps you are in this place because God has brought you there for a reason. Sometimes he allows us to go through trials in order to teach us and to develop our faith, to trust him in the darkness, in the wilderness, where you feel completely on your own.
Sometimes we are so busy, so concerned with doing all manner of things, that we aren’t able to be quiet and hear God’s voice speaking to us in our busyness, or we surround ourselves with so many things and people that there are too many voices clamouring for our attention. Then, the only way God can gain our attention is by taking us to the Valley of Trouble. A place where we feel there is nothing and no-one for us to lean on, we feel deserted and alone and it’s in this place that we are then free from distractions and leaning on others so that we are finally free to hear God speaking to us. God said in those verses that it is there that he will “speak comfort to her”. He’s not taking us to this deep, difficult wilderness to punish us, to speak sternly to us, to tear us down, to tell us how wrong we’ve got it, no, he takes us there to speak words of comfort to us, to encourage us and to show us his love. When God speaks he reaches our hearts, the very depth of our being and he shares incredible truths with us. How amazing is that? I love it!
We see things so differently to God, he has an eternal perspective, he sees the end from the beginning, we are so limited in our perspective and understanding, and we can tend to focus on the here and now.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (NKJV)
This is clear from the verses in Hosea. We see the place we are in as a Valley of Trouble, but God, how does God describe it? He describes it as a Door of Hope. This place of difficulty is, in reality, (God’s reality, not ours) actually a Door of Hope. Again, love it! When we connect with God in our trouble, whatever that trouble may be, we learn to see it as God sees it, as a Door of Hope. Instead of it being a negative place to be in, God turns it into a positive. God is able to use what we view as troubling, difficult and testing and turn it into something good, something worthwhile and valuable. Amazing! A doorway to go through, and God tells Hosea to tell his people, “I will give her her vineyards from there,” God will make his people fruitful again and productive and he will bless them. God does the same for us, as we abide in him, our lives will produce fruit. This Door of Hope brings us purpose, it deepens our faith in God, we come to know and love him as we have never known and loved him before.
To Think About:When you look back over your life, can you see how what you initially thought was a Valley of Trouble was, in truth, a Door of Hope given to you by God?
Are you experiencing a Valley of Trouble right now? What do you think God wants to say to you?
Ask God to show you how to see your circumstances as he does, as a Door of Hope and not a Valley of Trouble.