Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Wilderness

14 "So I am going to attract her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. 15 There I will give her back her vineyards, and I will make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope. There she will respond as when she was young, as when she came out of Egypt." ~Hosea 2:14-15 (NCV)

I recently prayed with a very good friend, a little sister, that I spent 5 months living with in New Zealand and Fiji while I attended YWAM (Youth With A Mission) in 2005-2006.  During our skype prayer time, God gave her this above verse for me and it seems to keep popping up everywhere since then.  It has kept coming up in devotions and messages at church.  I guess God really wanted me to dig in and study it a little bit more.  I wasn't really even familiar with the book of Hosea until we had that skype conversation!  The more these verses came up, the more I realized it fit so many situations in my life at the moment.

Hosea is an interesting book written by the prophet Hosea.  There are actually two parallel stories in it.  One is of God's unhappiness and disapproval with Israel, and the judgment He would bestow on them.  Things were going great for Israel and when things are great, they tended to forget about God and become unfaithful and rebellious.  The second story is about Hosea's marriage to his wife Gomer.  She was a prostitute and chose unfaithfulness over Hosea and their children.  This story is used as a metaphor for God's forgiveness and unending love for his children, Israel.

So back to these similar situations in my life.  The first parallel I realized was that I left many people in New York whom I loved dearly, to move to South Carolina.  This was no accident, it was because God "attracted" me to SC and he has led me into the "desert" where I currently am now.  No, not a desert in South Carolina - but a desert season of my life.  Yes the desert is a dry, hot, weary place but it can be fruitful.  It is fruitful because He is "speaking tenderly" to me here. He is healing my heart of the wounds and choices that weren't made with God in mind or heart.  He is "speaking tenderly" to me here because He loves me so much.  He is not an angry, vengeful God - He is a loving and caring Father.  I find happiness in this hot, dry desert because the heat of his love has me sweat out all those impurities and poisons from my wounds so I can heal!

Then He s going to "give me back my vineyards" when He is finished.  He will give me back and restore what the locusts ate!  "He will make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope".  All the pain and doubt will give me hope for an amazing future.  I will be able to use this season to help restore hope to others!  That is so exciting!  He is able to turn around and use everything for his good. We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him... ~Romans 8:28 (NCV)

"There (in the desert at the door of hope), she will respond as when she was young" - that innocence and trust is regained, the wild abandonment of a child is rejuvenated in my heart.  "As when she came out of Egypt" - Oh how many times Lord have You taken me out of Egypt!  I can count five actual physical moves where God has taken me out of somewhere I shouldn't of been.  The joy and peace that followed was amazing and to know that is what He has in store for me is the best part!

So, being in the desert isn't a bad place to be!  God meets me here, He called me here, and He speaks tenderly to heal my broken heart here.  Then he restores my joy and hope for the future here.  Enjoy the desert with Him.  You will learn new things that you can't learn anywhere else.  On a side note, try not to grumble too much because then the 11 day journey may take you 40 years when it doesn't have too!  Do everything without complaining or arguing. ~Philippians 2:14  All is does it waste precious healing time anyway. ;)

You may not be in a desert season of life but how do these verses speak to your heart?  Are you running towards God or are things good so you are just coasting through, waiting for the next speed bump?  God wants to always meet you where you are and speak tenderly to your heart in every season.

Lets pray:
Father God, thank you for loving me so much that you call me back no matter what I may do to push You away.  Thank you for loving me through the hurt and pain, and using every circumstance to teach me.  In this season, show me where I am and continue to speak tenderly to me Lord. Help me to find joy and hope in every season of life. Please continue to restore my joy and hope and to help me be able to share this joy ad hope with others around me.
In Your Precious Name,
Amen.


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