No matter how devoted to the Lord we are, we will occasionally experience "dry" times. These are the times when it seems like doors are closing, and opportunities are evaporating. And we feel like we are no longer making a difference in this world. There is a passage in the book of Hosea that beautifully describes these dry times, and every time I read it, I feel encouraged and refreshed.
"But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there." (Hosea 2:14 NLT) There are times when, in order to draw us closer to Himself, the Lord will lead us into the "desert," or "wilderness," as some translations say. Sometimes, it's because we have drifted away from Him and His purposes for our lives. Other times, its simply because He has promotions up ahead that He needs to prepare us for. Whatever the reason, if we will ask Him to "speak tenderly" to us while we are in the wilderness, He will reassure, comfort, and encourage us. I often pray, "Lord, speak tenderly to me in this desert, and help me to hear and to heed Your voice." This sharpens my spiritual hearing, and positions me to receive the divine direction I desperately need during these times.
"I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a Gateway of Hope." (Hosea 2:15 NLT) Here, the Lord promises to return to us our "vineyards" - our productivity, progress, and fruitfulness, which lead to abundance, blessings, and rewards. And He transforms our "Valley of Trouble" - our trials and tribulations - into "a Gateway of Hope." If you study out "a Gateway of Hope," you discover that it means "a new door of opportunity." This could mean new opportunities in your job, your business, your ministry, your health, or your relationships - virtually any and every area of your life.
I love how the Message Bible says, "I'll give her bouquets of roses. I'll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope." Hallelujah! Perhaps you are going through a wilderness experience of your own right now. I urge you to cling to the Lord and His promises, believing with all your heart that He will cause this difficult time to benefit you somehow. (Romans 8:28) You have some extraordinary opportunities, promotions, and rewards coming. So take heart and begin praising Him in advance for all the good things coming your way!
Prayer: Lord, speak tenderly to me in this desert. Help me to hear and to heed Your voice. Here and now, give me back my vineyards - my fruitfulness and my blessings - and transform my troubles into new opportunities and open doors for me. Thank You that as I cling to You and Your promises during my wilderness times, You will bring me out better than ever before!
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