God is the HOPE that lights up the darkness.

In the beginning darkness covered the surface of the deep. God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light.

Ever since, God has been lighting up the darkness.

In fact, darkness is simply the absence of light. The darker the darkness, the brighter the light appears when it comes.

In the same way the natural world is filled with hills and valleys.

In fact, come to think of it, you cannot have a mountain-top without at least a couple of valleys on each side.

The way new mountains rise up is by means of great cataclysms and prolonged erosion in the valleys that are left behind.

Through the Dark Valley

The Bible references numerous hills and valleys.

Everyone is familiar with the “valley of the shadow of death” in Psalm 23.

Another significant scriptural valley is the Valley of Achor, which is a place of trouble and distress (that is what the word achor means).

It was named after the sinner Achan, who was stoned to death and buried in that exact valley in Joshua’s time (Joshua 7:26). It appears again in the prophecies of Isaiah (Isaiah 65:10) and in the verse from Hosea quoted at the beginning of this chapter.

Green-ValleyAre we supposed to be afraid of these valleys?

Not as far as I can see.

In fact, just as the shepherd prepares a bountiful table and green pastures close by the valley of the shadow of death, so does God move a door of hope into position—right in the Valley of Trouble or as some refer to it—at the place of the dark night of the soul.

The Dark Valley leads to a door of hope, if you keep on looking.

Every one of us will go through dark valleys and troubled times.

After we have walked with the Lord long enough, we begin to see the truth that the place of trouble always, always leads to a door of hope. Always.

God takes your deepest valley, your Valley of Achor, and he transforms it into a door of hope.

After the door of hope, Hosea says, comes joyful celebration: “She will sing there as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.” We will sing and celebrate as Miriam did when God had worked a miracle and delivered the Israelites from Egypt, right through the midst of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:20).

Keep on Walking!

Too many of us stop in the middle. We can’t get even a glimpse of the door of hope, so we sit down.

I know; I’ve done it. But if you believe that the valley is only a way of passage through to the mountain heights, the only logical thing to do is get back up and keep moving again.

This means that if you find yourself in a valley right now, keep on walking.

As you walk, you will be gaining new strength so that you will be capable of climbing the mountain when you get there.

And once you get high enough up on the mountainside, your perspective will change about the valley of trouble behind you.

Keep WalkingYou will surely exclaim, Why, that valley is full of flowers. Just look at them! Look at that rushing brook. Look at that green grass. I must have missed it when I was down there!

You will be so glad you kept walking.

You will echo the exultant final words of Psalm 84: “The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You!” (NASB).

God’s Word will be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105). It is a hope that lights up the darkness.

In fact, God’s Word will light up any night you are walking through.

God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. He is omni-omni! He will take care of you.

Swamped with decisions and options, you might choose right and you might choose not-so-right. You might choose the right door at the right time, or you might choose it out of timing.

But because God causes all things to work together for good for those who love him (Romans 8:28), he will scoop up your mistakes and miscalculations, blend them in with your successes and obedience, and come up with a blessing.

You have to lean into God alone as much as you possibly can.

He will always see you through as long as you lean in his direction. I love this proverb: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6 NKJV).

Lean not on your own understanding. Lean on His.

The only reason you may feel a little off-balance (besides the fact that your time of trouble probably still has you reeling) is that when you are leaning, you are putting yourself at some risk of falling.

But you already knew that trusting faith is spelled R-I-S-K, didn’t you?

You will have to lean close to Him, like the beloved disciple John did, in order to hear the desires of His heart (John 13:23–25).

Most likely, the Holy Spirit will tell you to do something that will be quite impossible without Holy Spirit’s divine help.

You should take that as Good News because, weakened as you are, you are already learning that you can’t do much on your own.

God’s Redemptive Nature

God is in the middle of redeeming you.

His whole nature is to be a Redeemer.

Because of His faithfulness, His patience, His loving kindness, His mercy, and His grace, He is bringing you through that doorway labeled “Hope.” God always has a good future, a plan, and a hope for you.

Second ChanceI used to say that he was a God of the second chance.

Now I think our God is much better than that. He is indeed the God of the second chance, but many of us already cashed that one in a while ago.

He is the God of amazing grace. We will never be able to count the number of chances we have gotten already or will get in the future.

Now I have revised the “God of the second chance” to make it higher.

He is the God of the fifty-millionth chance, at least.

His mercies are surely new every morning (Lamentations 3:23).

We each need to lean into Him, or as old hymn says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no better way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

Hope that Lights Up the Darkness

I am here to say, that there is a light that can brighten up even the darkest night.

I know. I have walked through the valley and found the door of hope waiting right there.

And there is more than just a little flicker of a light at the end of the tunnel. There a bright new tomorrow.

Yes, in your life Christ is the HOPE that Lights up the Darkness!

PRAYER

Father, though I walk through the valley, I choose to trust in you! Turn my Valley of Achor into a door of hope. I believe that miracles still happen today. I believe that there is no pit so deep that your immense love cannot reach deeper. Restore me. Heal me. As I come before my Creator and Lord, turn my mourning into dancing. I believe you will guide me every step of the way, in your loving kindness. In Jesus’s amazing name. Amen.

Abounding in Hope,

James W. Goll

This article has been adapted from Chapter 5: “The Door of Hope” in James Goll’s book, Tell Your Heart to Sing Again.


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