As the government announces plans to restore the country ‘back to normal’ many of us fear our mental health won’t be able to rebound so easily. Jenny Sanders explains that God knows how to comfort those in despair and has a message of hope for us all.
Have you ever felt as though you were groping your way through a dark, foggy valley, peering your way ahead, seeing little and experiencing nothing but trouble and anxiety?
Most of us have lived there at some point during the past 20 months or so, and some of us are struggling to find our way out the other side.
You’re not alone. Hosea tells us that 800 years before Jesus was born, God’s chosen people had turned away from Him so wholeheartedly that He allowed them to experience something similar. He called it ‘the Valley of Achor’, a reference to the tragic place where Achan and his family were punished after disobeying God’s commands regarding conquering Jericho (you can read about it in Joshua 7).
After a time of defeat, desolation and despair, God – whose love and faithfulness never wavered – declared His intention to woo His people back again. Hosea told them that God was providing a ‘door of hope in the Valley of Achor’ (Hosea 2:15). God’s desire was to turn the place of judgement into a place of refreshment, replenishment and restoration. Taking the people into a relational wilderness allowed them to review and revaluate their lives. Does that sound familiar?
After a time of defeat, desolation and despair, God – whose love and faithfulness never wavered – declared His intention to woo His people back again.
Covid restrictions forced us all into compulsory isolation; an enforced stripping back during which we’ve taken stock of our lives, our priorities and our goals. There’s been a cost to our collective mental health and a hiatus in our relational lives. Some of us have been stretched at both ends with homeschooling children and ageing parents we couldn’t visit. Too many people died alone and were mourned from afar.
Where is hope? Hosea’s words remind us that God still provides a door of hope into whichever valley you find yourself. Most of us want to find a door of escape. But what if, rather than providing a means out of our challenging situation, God walks through that door to join us in the Valley of Trouble? We can open that door, let Him through and into our circumstances; access hope, healing, recovery, blessing and a welcome season of flourishing, even when things aren’t ideal.
Let’s resolve to not only share hope, but be hope, as the life of Jesus overflows from us to our families and communities.
Walking through your valley in step with Him is a privilege. Embrace the opportunity to know Him better, increase your faith, strengthen your resolve, enhance your trust and develop spiritual grit in the face of difficulties. Hosea’s words in The Message are: ‘I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope’; how beautiful! Our hope lies beyond us and yet, by the power of the Holy Spirit, lives within us too: ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27).
Hope is infectious; those who have it, spread it. Let’s resolve to not only share hope, but be hope, as the life of Jesus overflows from us to our families and communities.