Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her. Hosea 2:14
I discovered Hosea 2:14 when I was wandering blindly in a desert of loneliness and isolation. Things are better now so I set it aside, put it out of my mind. Isn't that what we always do? God uses a verse to guide us through a difficult time and, as soon as things calm down, we forget the words and the healing He brought to us.
Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this.
A couple days ago, I read David Brannock's latest post on his blog Set Free to Soar. God brought this verse to mind and I remembered how He'd used it to help me in a hard time. I share it with you now because I believe it will encourage you when you're roaming in the desert.
These aren't words we typically associate with the desert. A desert is dry, dusty, barren,
We've all wandered in the desert.
- A desert of pain because of a broken relationship.
- A desert of depression. It all seems hopeless, helpless, so we try not to feel at all. It's better to hide in the desert rather than face life.
- A desert of fear because financial problems, a rebellious child, or an illness leave us in shock.
- A desert of waiting when nothing seems clear and life seems purposelessness.
- A desert of our own making. Hard consequences often result from our actions.
Into the desert comes the words of Hosea 2:14
Allure - think about that word for a minute. To entice, attract, fascinate. We usually think of temptation but is that how God is using it? Yes, He draws us in, not to tempt us but to love on us. He can't minister to us when fear, pain, or hopelessness deafen us to His voice. In the quiet of the desert, we can hear Him.
He leads - purposefully. . Intentionally. Away from despair to a place He chose. No distractions, no panic. We see the stars - and maybe a glimmer of hope. We notice a few green plants that thrive, even in this harsh environment - maybe a bit of relief begins to grow. Days go by, maybe weeks, and slowly we begin to strengthen.
Speak tenderly - There's a story in 1 Kings 18 about a man named Elijah. The Lord used him to pull off a major victory. Elijah should have been on cloud nine. But - there's always a but, isn't there - his enemies heard about it, they vowed to hunt him down and kill him. Poor Elijah didn't even think about trusting God, he ran into the desert in fear and hid in a cave. God came and met Elijah in the cave and revealed Himself by a whisper.
He draw us out into the desert, lead us to the perfect spot, and whispers to us. Love, comfort, peace, forgiveness. We can't hear Him in the midst of our problems. Sometimes it takes a desert experience to be healed.
How has God used deserts in your life to draw you closer to Him?