August 22, 2015

Hosea 2:15 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 day she came up out of Egypt.

Both the NIV and the Japanese render “Valley of Achor” as a place name, but fortunately the Bible I’m using gives the footnote, “Achor means trouble.” God has a way of doing exactly what He says here, giving hope in the middle of trouble. The question is always whether we will receive that hope, or whether we will wallow in self-centered misery. We have a reluctance to repent, because repentance requires acknowledging you were wrong and changing course. Our pride doesn’t want to acknowledge we were wrong, and our flesh doesn’t want to change course! However, it is when we repent that we receive the hope, the forgiveness, the peace, and the joy that God intends for us. We tend to get mired in the trouble itself, instead of understanding that it’s merely a transit point through which we may get closer to God, if we will respond to it correctly. In this verse, the NIV says “sing,” and gives “respond” in a footnote, but the Japanese just goes with “answer/respond” It is our choice whether our troubles draw us closer to God or drive us from Him. We need to be like Job, who said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” (Job 13:15 KJV)

I have had moments when troubles made me forget God, but for the most part, when those things happened I wasn’t thinking about God in the first place! The more I have learned to turn to God in trouble, the more I have gained His peace and joy, on a bedrock foundation of hope. There’s a beautiful song that says, “I know Who holds the future, and I know Who holds my hand.” I have seen so many people devastated by “what might happen,” before it ever comes around. They aren’t living in hope! I’m not to deny the reality of evil, but I am never to think that evil will win out in the end. Not just in my own life, but world events certainly give plenty of opportunity to be anxious. I am to stand firm in all of that, walking in personal humility, and repentance when called for, with the eyes of my heart fixed on Jesus Christ my Lord. (Hebrews 12:2)

Father, thank You for Your faithfulness. There have been plenty of things that have tried to shake me recently, and several of them are still at it. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, knowing that Your plans are perfect, whether what I have imagined agrees with them or not. Help me recognize and fulfill every task You have for me as it comes up and not be anxious about what’s down the line. Help me rest in Your hope regardless of what troubles might come, so that all of Your purposes may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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