A Vineyard? In the Desert?

To speak of the past 6 months as a “desert” experience feels like an exaggeration. I have not been consistently depressed or gloomy, and have had some wonderful experiences — like watching the birth of Redeemer Church. But there have been dark times when I’ve felt weary, depressed, fearful and hopeless that certain things would ever change. Even my times with the Lord, which over the years have often been the joy of my day, required unusual effort. And there have been too many days when I gave into the temptation to allow busyness or sleep to to crowd out my devotions.

One day I was especially hopeless and realized my longing for heaven was increasingly tainted with a desire for relief from the fatigue, stress and “hardness” of life.

Then I remembered a time when I felt that before.

15 years ago I went through a similar season when I first had the thought: “This is why people can get to the point where they just wanna die.” While I had no intention to commit suicide, there was a new empathy for the hopelessness that, when left un-helped, could lead someone to think death was their only escape. Until then, I really didn’t understand how life could become so hard or sad or painful that self-inflicted death was appealing. One of the fruits of suffering is greater compassion and less self-righteousness over how others handle hardship.  Such a gift.

Back then, a couple of verses tucked away in the Book of Hosea became a source of great comfort to me.

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

Whether you are going through a hard or perplexing season now, or will in the future, I hope this verse will cause you to be curious as it did me.

More on that tomorrow.

6 thoughts on “A Vineyard? In the Desert?

  1. I have also found that scripture in Hosea comforting. And ss 1:4, together with it. ” Draw me after you; let us run”. Maybe its comforting because the love our Savior has for us draws us when we have no strength, and will not let us go. I have camped at these verses in the last year+. They made me feel not alone.
    Thanks, my friend, for your blog!

    • It’s always good to hear from you, Jeannie. Thanks for pointing out the verse from chapter 1. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t felt I could “run” — yet God continues to pour out strength and grace, doesn’t He? I’m glad the scriptures have been your friend, having known just a little of what you have been walking through. What would we do without His nearness and voice??? Much love to you and your family!

      • Its true, Sheree- the running is His doing, altogether. Otherwise I would say “um, I just want to sit here, I’m weary”. Thanks for your honesty in your season. It was once said of me that I was just a Pollyanna. But the Lord takes us on paths we would not choose to walk, but the comfort in them is His nearness. Maybe I didn’t appreciate that when I was young. Maybe I didn’t need to.
        I love seeing the pics of your kids and grands. Just joy!

    • I’m glad my honesty is helpful and sincerely want people to find hope here! It’s risky to open up and be vulnerable, but you have demonstrated there is grace in showing our brokenness. Love you guys!

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