“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.” Hosea 2:14-15a ESV
Valleys of trouble. How many of us have been there? Who are currently there? It is not easy. If anything, we think of it as punishment. When I first read this verse there were a few things that stood out to me:
1) “I will lead her into the desert” – this reminds me of how the Spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness before His ministry began. There He did experience a spiritual battle with Satan but He also was ministered to by the angels (Matthew 4:11, Mark 1:13). God sometimes leads us into unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and challenging seasons because He is trying to prepare us for what’s coming next.
2) “speak tenderly to her” – He seeks intimacy with us and when we are in these situations is often when we experience an intimacy with God like no other. He isn’t a harsh father, but one who is compassionate and forgiving, wise and kind. He desires to help correct and guide us into righteous living, to speak truth to our worn out souls and love to our broken hearts.
3) “I will return her vineyards … transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope” – God has the ability to restore to us what has been taken away. I’ve lost years to sorrow and loneliness, to suffering and confusion. God is more than equipped to redeem those years and give me hope. But He even takes it a step further and can transform our circumstances. The very things that may cause me heartache now can be the very things God uses to grow my faith, strengthen my spirit, and open doors.
Deuteronomy 8 is a great passage to read along with this. It reminds us to keep God’s commands in these seasons (v.6), that God is showing us our hearts and faith (v.2 & 16), and all the while is leading us into something good (v.7-10).
No great man or woman of God went straight through their gateway of hope without first experiencing great trials, knowing great sorrow, and having to be tested and humbled to develop a greater faith.
If their stories are nothing but examples of the goodness of God, then know whatever valley of trouble you’re in is nothing compared to what God has in store for you as long as you continually seek Him wholeheartedly, keep His commands, and listen to His precious voice.
“He did this to humble you and test you for your own good.” Deuteronomy 8:16b NLT