Valley of Trouble, Gateway of Hope: Experiencing the Heart of Jesus
I will return her vineyards to her
and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there,
as she did long ago when she was young,
when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt. Hosea 2:15, NLT
Oh how this season has been a valley. Oh how I had thought that coming here, that this act of obedience was going to take me to joy, to dream-fruition, and to passionate service for the Kingdom. This was my expectation. This was my hope. I obeyed and I came and I made all of the immense changes because I thought that it was time, time for the dreams to awaken, time to take Your hand and to follow you into destiny.
Then I arrived. Any my heart sank. And nothing was as it was supposed to be. And trouble started to come upon me, not in drops, not in showers, but in waves. Wave after wave of trouble and heartache and the cries of “Why God?” and “Where are You, God” and “Have You forgotten me?”
Oh Valley of Trouble, how you broke me. How you brought me to my weakest point and left me on my face on the floor, unable to move. I didn’t know you were coming. I didn’t know that making this change and walking in obedience was going to bring me to this place where trouble was a flood around me, a valley of bones surrounding me, a desert of hopelessness and fear and brokenness with no oasis, no end in sight.
Yet here I stand.
And I say with fullness of heart…Thank You, God. Oh thank you for the Valley of Trouble.
But why oh why would I thank Him for this? How can I be broken and battered to within an inch of my life and say thank you? And not just thank you, but 100% without hesitation, I would do it all over again. Have I gone mad? Have I lost my senses?
No, friend, no. Just the opposite. Here, slowly crawling out of the valley, slowly standing to my feet at the other side of it, I have to tell you…it’s imperative that you know…my mind is more whole than it’s ever been. My senses are more keen than in any other season.
For this Valley of Trouble? Oh. Didn’t He know all along that it was actually my Gateway of Hope? Because didn't He know that truly experiencing the heart of Jesus happens exactly in a place like this?
Oh Jesus. Beautiful Jesus. The upside-down way You do things is actually the right-side-up. This is the only way to find wholeness. I never would have known. But You knew and You loved me enough to take me there.
Where I could only see desolation, You saw rivers of life. Where I could only see wilderness, You saw purpose. Where I could only see pain, You saw healing. And where I could only see trouble, You saw hope. For as I was looking without, oh dearest Friend, you were looking within.
Hallelujah, what a Savior.
It was there in the valley, there at my deepest need, there where I couldn’t see a way out, it’s there that I had to come to know…truly know…that nothing in this life is worth yearning for, nothing in this life is worth hoping in, nothing in this life can be counted on…except for YOU. This nothingness without drove me to remember what is within, and that is a King, a Comforter, and a Friend who never leaves nor forsakes me.
And as I broke open in the valley, I had to reach out in my pain. And then He rushed in with His healing. He showed me once again what it means for Him to take up residence inside of me. There in the valley as I asked Him the “whys” and questioned if He was still with me, He blew over me like a mighty wind to calm the storm that was swirling inside of me. And His wind spoke Love words that turned the Valley of Trouble into a Gateway of Hope – not one that I could see with my eyes, but one that I was experiencing in my heart.
And as I cried with cracked voice, “Oh God, show me your love in this desolate place,” He answered. He answered and I found for the first time that I believed…truly believed…that His Love for me is completely boundless, His Love for me is sure and unmoving, His Love for me is intimate and knowing, His Love for me will never ever fail. His Love for me is my trust and my hiding place and my rivers of life and my hope that defies the valley. And how did I believe? Because I opened up my broken heart to Him right there in the middle of the trouble and He gave me a real experience of His Love. Right there in the middle of the trouble, I was truly experiencing the Heart of Jesus...His heart for ME.
I never knew that it was in the brokenness of trouble that Love becomes most real.
I never knew that it was there that we come to understand the reality and the depth of His Love.
But now I know, and my youth is restored. He has freed me from enslavement to circumstance. He has delivered me from bondage to the seen, because this Love? This Love that’s birthed hope in this valley? It is reality and it is the anchor for everything. Understanding this will ever be the crux of my faith. Great Love, how can it be?
But it is.
Without, I may see valleys and deserts still, but within? Oh within the vineyards are growing, lush with life and fruit that will – it will – enter the realm of the seen in its time. But meanwhile and ever after it’s there I will live, in the garden within that is ever cultivated by His changeless Love.
Dearest One, thank You. I give myself fully to You. Because the hope of Your endless, sure, boundless Love has captured me completely..
Friends, the trouble is our hope, don’t you see? Because in trouble we cannot hope in what is seen. We see how it cannot sustain us. We have already felt the rending hurt of how the seen has let us down. But the unseen? The reality and the experience of the Comforter that has been sent to minister to us? The drowning in a Love of a Savior who gave everything for us? This suddenly becomes the only reality that matters.
Hope is alive. He is alive.
We are captive no more. We are hopeless no more.
For the unseen has been uncovered within our very souls.
Dear friend, dear dreamer, you are not forgotten. You are dearly, deeply loved. This valley you're in is very likely the exact wilderness you needed to walk through on the road to your destiny. Want to learn more about this process, about the season of life, the season of dreams you are in? Download this free resource I have built just for you. And be encouraged that you LOVED and you are REMEMBERED, even and especially in the midst of your valley.