Door of Hope

Therefore, behold, I will allure her,and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

Hosea 2:14-15 has been one of my favourite Scriptures for years. God gave it to me at a time when I was in deep heartbreak, when I had lost everything and was really struggling just to survive day to day. I'm studying the book of Hosea now, and am just blown away by the incredible love of God. I'm sure you know the story - God instructs His prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute, and to have children with her to illustrate His relationship with Israel. The job of a prophet is not all fun!

Hosea marries a woman who he knows will be unfaithful, and has 3 children with her. God names the children Jezreel (a place God wanted to redeem, where many people were murdered), No Mercy, and Not My People. He really couldn't be more clear with Israel about the consequences of their sin. But then He speaks this word through Hosea, this beautiful tender word about how He longs to restore this bride, how He can't help but redeem all the brokenness she's experiencing. He talks about pursuing her, about how he poured out blessings for her and she didn't even recognize that it came from Him. You can feel the heart of God for us in this book, you can see how He pursues us no matter how many mistakes we've made, no matter how clueless we are.

One of the things that really becomes clear through this prophetic book is that God desires to get to the root of our brokenness and promises to heal it. He's not interested in our sacrifices or making sure we act a certain way. He wants our hearts to come into full healing and be free to experience the fullness of wisdom and blessing that we receive when we are in intimate relationship with Him.

The Valley of Achor is also known as the Valley of Disaster, or of Trouble. It's the very place where Israel sinned (Joshua 7), and it's the very place that God will redeem and bring hope to His people. He is the God who turns Disaster into Hope. See, for Israel, this valley had become a symbol of their sin. They erected a monument there to remember their past regrets and shame. Achor was a constant reminder of their worst moment. It is never God's will for us to harbour shame, for us to be continually reminded of the worst moments of our past, the moments that brought so much pain and brokenness. God's heart is for us to be free from shame and secrecy, and His desire for us to be free is so great  that He will take that very monument of pain and turn it into hope.

The way that He turns Disaster into Hope is by meeting us in that valley. He is not intimidated by your sin, and He's not worried about your future. God is engaged in your story, and He's willing to rewrite the pages of your past in order to set you free into your future. He does that in unique ways with each of us, because He knows what we need better than we do. Invite Him into your story, and allow Him to disassemble the monument to your pain.

No matter what the past hurt is in your life, it's not too big for God to redeem. He's strong enough, He's kind enough, and He is available. The beautiful thing is that this healing comes completely through God's strength and doesn't require anything of us other than surrendering to Him. Your only job is to give Him access to the deep places in your heart, and He does the rest. Some of you have learned that if something sounds too good to be true, it's a trick. God wants to heal that too, because He wants you to know that His offer of healing is too good, and it is true. Read Hosea, hear His heart for you, and let Him take that point of pain and turn it into a door of hope.