Therefore I am now going to allure her. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the days she came up out of Egypt. ~ Hosea 2:14-15
There is something oddly symbolic about being in a desert when it comes to sorrow. If you’re someone like me, you find the heat intolerable, the loneliness unbearable and the vastness impossible to navigate. I have never been much of a fan of that much sand and prickly plants. I would much rather be in lush, green vegetation surrounded by miles of rushing water and earthy terrain than stuck anywhere near a landscape resembling the surface of a barren planet. Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme but you get my point – not a fan. That is until I found myself there, yet again, several years ago.
It was during a critical time of healing and near dissolution of my own marriage that I wandered back in. Or was it that I never really left and had only just become aware of my surroundings? I’m not sure. What I do know is this – it was a very dry heat. My pain and sorrow left me parched…dehydrated. I was sure I would never know comfort again or experience color of any variety other than shades of brown and grey. My tongue glued itself to the roof of my mouth as gritty silence forced me inward. Nothing but desolation and hunger surrounded me night and day. Even my tears were encased by grains of sand so small there seemed to be no end as they came pouring out.
When I believed all to be lost (and by “all” I mean me) I was met there in the desert by my Hope. His name is Jesus and He knows well the path of desert travel. He sat with me and began to speak loving, tender truths to my heart. He gave me water to drink which saved my life and restored me to health. He loved on me and made me a promise that if I would trust Him to, He would give it all back to me in time. He taught me that the Valley of Achor actually means the Valley of Trouble but through it, He would make a door of Hope for me to open. But first, I must learn to navigate through the desert on my way to the door. And it will be in the valley, not on the mountaintop, that I will learn to sing again as in the days of my youth – as in the days I came up out of my Egypt. It feels like a lifetime ago since I was in that desert place but I will never forget my time spent there. My vineyards are now lush and overflowing. My song of joy and praise rises up every day since passing through the door.
If you ever find yourself in the middle of the desert – look for the door. It is your passage out to the other side.