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Lent Devotional 2020 – March 25

Lent Devotional 2020 – March 25

PRAY

Show me Your glory, I pray.
Exodus 33:18

READ

Therefore, I will now persuade her,and bring her into the wilderness,and speak tenderly to her. From there I will give her her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she shall respond as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. 
Hosea 2:14-15

A helpful strategy for dealing with life’s difficulties is what therapists call “reframing”: looking at situations, people, and relationships through a different “frame”. Reframing can change the meaning of something as well as one’s thinking and behavior. Examples of reframing would be looking at a problem as an opportunity for growth, or a parent’s discipline as an expression of love. The New Testament letter of James reframes “trials” as occasions for “joy” so that people “may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Everything depends on the frame through which you choose to look.

Reframing is not only a tool of modern-day counselors but often a practice of Biblical writers. They often look at a situation of their day through the frame of Egypt, Wilderness, and Promised Land. That is what we see in today’s scripture as some 700 years after the actual Exodus event the prophet Hosea looks at his times through an Exodus frame. He wants Israel to view Wilderness troubles through the frame of God’s love, that is, God will “bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her” (Hebrew: “speak to the heart”). In the Wilderness times of life God “will now persuade her,” or court and woo her. This means that in the wilderness times of our lives God longs to draw us close to Him.

Hosea says it is in the Wilderness that God will give Israel “her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.” Hosea is reframing yet again, as the Valley of Achor in Hebrew means “Valley of Trouble”. Valley of Achor had become proverbial for trouble brought on by sin (Joshua 7:24, 26; Isaiah 65:10). Even trouble will be transformed by God into “a door of hope.” God takes sin and trouble and reframes them into hope for the future! That’s what God can do in the Wilderness!

Jeff Manion speaks of the Wilderness as “The Land Between” in his book of that title. Manion observes:

“The Land Between can be profoundly disorienting. It also provides space for God to do his deepest work in our hearts…God intends for us to emerge from this land radically reshaped. But the process of transformational growth will not occur automatically. Our response to God while in The Land Between will determine whether our journey through the desert will result in deep, positive growth or spiritual decline.” (Jeff Manion, The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Times)

God longs for us to respond to His love, as Israel did “in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.” Could it be, that God wants to reframe your Valley of Trouble into your door of hope? Could it be that in your Wilderness times God longs to draw you close?

REFLECT

  • How might you reframe a Valley of Trouble as God’s door of hope?

  • Pastor Jeff Manion says that The Land Between, or the Wilderness,“provides space for God to do his deepest work in our hearts.” How doyou sense God doing deep work in you as you travel in the Wilderness?
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