Monday, July 2, 2012
“Therefore, 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 Anchor a door of hope” Hosea 2:14-15. “Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” Isaiah 35:5.
There is no way to avoid pain and suffering on this side of Heaven. Because of sin, death and devastation were ushered in as its companion. God’s answer to despair is hope and redemption. He has already provided Christ as the redeeming means for our salvation and eternal life. I am speaking more in terms of redeeming our lives on the other side of loss and suffering. We all will experience the wilderness at some point in our lives, finding ourselves in challenging circumstances and painful situations.
I have witnessed first-hand God seeing one of His children approaching the Valley of Anchor and taking her by the hand. He saw the breaking of her heart and dared not leave her alone, as her mother-in-law crossed over to heaven. He tenderly spoke life into her heart as her daughter drifted out of this life. He carried her through her grief and loneliness as she said goodbye to her lifelong soul mate…all of this in 16 months. A woman whose valley offered reason to give up hope…to retreat and isolate…to turn away from her Savior…her name is Mother.
A few months ago we were all on our girl’s weekend trip and Mother walked into the townhome with light in her eyes and joy in her smile. When I commented on this, she stated that she felt happy once again. I saw something in her that day that only the healing grace of God can provide…redemption. Not the kind of redemption that is the result of retrieving what was lost. It was an acceptance and confidence that God was still gracious, loving and healing in spite of her loss. The definition of redemption is ‘deliverance and rescue, release and liberation.’ Redemption is not getting back everything we have lost, but allowing God to faithfully rebuild the shattered pieces of our lives that lay broken on the ground around us. It is trusting God that our losses on earth are our loved ones redeeming grace in Heaven…they have exchanged their earthly lives for a life that endures forever…lives that will be reunited with us in the future.
Through the redemptive work of a redeeming God, He will walk us through the Valley of Anchor (trouble, weeping) and through the door of hope out of our darkness. He will kneel with us picking up the pieces of our lives and creating new joy and gladness. Everything will be returned, restored and eternally redeemed when He calls us home. So hold on, lean on your faith and look to Him so His joy and gladness can be your companion.