Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Desert Place

One day I was listening to Shane and Shane’s “Clean” album and came across a song titled, “Acres of Hope.” I stopped dead in my tracks and thought, “What is this song?” I looked up the lyrics and discovered that the song was based off of Hosea 2:14-20. I listened to the song over and over again, as tears streamed down my face. 

In chapter 2, God is telling Hosea his plan for Hosea’s unfaithful, unloving wife who also happens to be a prostitute.  He says, “I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth. And when that happens, she will no longer call me master, she will call me husband.”

Sometimes we find ourselves in the desert of life because of our sin or disobedience. We’ve walked ourselves right into that dry, barren land. But the Bible is full of scriptures on how to walk ourselves out of the desert of our own making. 

But… sometimes God ordains the desert. Not because he’s angry but because he desperately loves us and wants to cut away the thorns, the distractions, the anger, the pain. And in that ordained desert, the only way out is when God deems you ready, and you remember what joy feels like, and you have had such an intimate exchange that you no longer look at God as a disinterested master, but as a lover and as a husband who longs to see you healthy and whole.

God drew me out to the desert and I wandered for years and years, until I reached the end of myself. I was tired, exhausted by the situation with my father and the debilitating anger; I was weak, and almost dead. And then he began to speak tenderly to me, and I listened. And he gave me back my joy. Out there, out where it was dry, I quit calling him master and I started calling him husband. You see, it’s in the struggle and the fight where we finally learn how much he loves us. Where we finally hear him say, “Draw near and listen. I have not abandoned you.”

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