Times in the Desert

Have you ever felt as if you were in a desert? Only recently I felt as if I was trapped in a huge desert. It had an oasis in the middle, with a water hole, three palm trees and a cave for shelter, but no way of walking out of the desert. It was a dry place with little prospects, but a place where God seemed to provide supernaturally.

We can be sure that God never leaves or forsakes us, no matter where we find ourselves. The desert, just as the dark valley, is not the place we would choose to be in. But in our passage from Hosea we realise that God Himself often leads people into the desert. It can be the consequence of their disobedience, as in the case of Israel. But God does not lead His people into the desert to punish them, but to speak tenderly to them and restore them. What amazing grace, care and love! This is the Father Heart of God.

In our lives, not only does God speak tenderly to us in the wilderness, but He turns our ‘valley of Achor’ into a ‘door of hope’. ‘Valley of Achor’ means valley of tears, despair, trouble or suffering. This is precisely where God changes our lives into a ‘doorway of hope’. A doorway is a place we go through to get to the other side, and we see a ray of hope shining through the doorway, just as a ray of light shines through dark clouds. Jesus introduces Himself both as the door (John Chapter 15), and the way (John Chapter 14). He becomes the gateway for us to walk through. Jesus will either make a way for us out of that desert, or come in and turn it into a beautiful, flourishing garden. (The Bible often talks about springs in the desert and the desert blooming again). If we are closely connected with Jesus, we will blossom and not wither, even when drought comes. The drier the ground, the deeper our roots will grow.

Recently we had a picture of a canal lock with a boat inside and the lock gates closed. In that place the boat and its crew can’t move. They have to wait for things to move from the outside. Many years ago, on a river cruise, I passed through sixty-five locks. I can tell you that the only thing you see at the bottom of a lock is four high towering, ugly concrete walls around you and the sky above. It feels so claustrophobic. But, as the water starts to flow in and fill the lock, the boat is slowly lifted up. Then the moment comes when the boat is high enough for you to see over the walls again. When the filling of the lock is completed, the gates slowly open and the boat can start to move again and continue its journey, but this time on a new level.

There are times when we may feel trapped and can only look upwards, towards heaven, and reach out to God, relying on Him and trusting Him to move in due season. This is often where God will do something profound in us to prepare us for new things to come. God speaks tenderly to us, comforting, restoring and pruning us. In this place of utter dependency we get to know His faithfulness on a much deeper level, and, when we come out on the other side, we are not the same anymore. We are strengthened in our trust relationship with God.

Prayer: Father, help me to entrust all the circumstances of my life into Your hands. I know that You always make a way where there seems to be no way. Thank You for the challenging times in my life. I know that is when I learn about Your utter faithfulness and my relationship with You grows. Thank You, Father, for all You are doing in me. Amen.


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Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
Hosea 2:14-15a, NIV


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Today's Writer

Andreas Hefti Andreas and Ria Hefti have been involved with Ellel Ministries for many years and for a number of years they have been leading the Ellel work in Germany. It is their hearts to see believers and the Body of Jesus grow into their full potential and into a deeper love relationship with their Creator.

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