Hosea quoted God saying, “I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.” (Hosea 2:15) What strikes me is that this is said while God is giving His people a severe spanking. They are in the Valley of Trouble by their own doing. This was no accident. They brought all this trouble on themselves. I have been in trouble in life. The worse kind is the trouble of my own making. I skipped class once (well maybe more than once) and got caught. Coach Hazelip administered the lick with hole-driven board that thrust me into the Valley of Trouble. That was trauma. No, let’s not trivialize trauma. My lick was nothing compared with the trauma so many have experienced. I am humbled in their presence. Regardless of why one is in trouble, God can transform it into a Gateway of Hope. This is often hard to believe.
Israel in Hosea’s day was deep in this troubled valley. Verse 14 describes it as a desert. She had been there once for forty years. It is a valley of the shadow of death. The word is “Achor” in Hebrew. Achor is an anchor for too many, dragging them under. The struggle is real. When you are going down for the third time, hope eludes you. Drowning in trouble requires some divine deliverance. People need a gate to find a way. There is one. “I assure you; I am a gate for the sheep,” Jesus said. (John 15:7) The running-back being pursued by a 230-pound linebacker who has scooted around the end needs a hole to break through. The spelunker who does not remember which tunnel to take needs a shaft of light. Is there a way out of this valley? Too many believe there are no moves left except deathly ones. The young girl walking into the abortion clinic can see no other door. But there is another door. There is a gateway to hope. For the child that stares at the chessboard not knowing which piece to grab, seeing no way to avoid checkmate simply needs an older and wiser soul to whisper in their ear, “Child, look again. You have another move.”
There is no more beautiful word in the English language than the word “HOPE.” “NO” has no place in the same sentence with HOPE. Jesus’ middle name is Hope. Even an old prostitute like Gomer had hope.
19Ruth Smith, David Odawa and 17 others