PATMOS BIBLE STUDY Lesson 2 – Hope in the Valley of Trouble
September 23, 2021
PATMOS BIBLE STUDY
FINDING GOD IN THE DESERT OF THE SOUL
“In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye ~ Deuteronomy 32:10
Lesson 2 – Hope in the Valley of Trouble
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” ~ Psalm 63:1 (NIV)
When we think of God leading us, we tend to think of him taking us to greater and greater heights of spiritual accomplishments—always upward, never down, always forward, never backward. But that is simply not the case. Psalm 23 tells us that sometimes the Shepherd leads us right through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
If you are following Christ and you find yourself in a desert, it’s very likely that God led you there, just like he led Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus into their deserts. It’s because he wants to say something to you, and there is no other place you will hear it. The desert is God’s way of getting your attention.
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. 15 There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. 16 “In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’ 17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. . . 21 “In that day I will respond,” declares the Lord—“I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; 22 and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. ~ Hosea 2:14-17, 21-22 (NIV)
When God wants to bring you into something new, he first has to bring you out of something old And very often, the passageway from the old into the new goes through a valley of trouble. It involves sorrow and difficulty. But God says in Hosea 2 that your valley of trouble is not a dead end. It’s a doorway into a place of hope, fruitfulness, and restoration.
“8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)
Your trouble is not a sentence. It is not the end. It is the beginning of a much greater story. So which side of the comma are you living on? Are you living on the troubled side or the trusting side?
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you.” ~ Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)
“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” Louisa May Alcott
Don’t see it as a dead end. See it as a doorway.
“Do not be afraid, . . . for I myself will help you, . . . 18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys, I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.” ~ Isaiah 41:14, 18 (NIV)
Your desert may seem like a place of desolation, but God will make it a place of restoration. It may seem like a place of barrenness, but God will make it a place of fruitfulness. God will not abandon you in the desert. He will turn your Valley of Achor into a door of hope.
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurston