Hope for a sick heart

empty desert
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“I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.” Hosea 2:15

This verse came via email to me today like shade in the hot Arizona sun. I used to tolerate the heat in Arizona pretty well, but as the years have gone by, I haven’t grown more accustom to the heat, I’ve grown more intolerant of it.

Hope seems a long way off these days. Coming around the calendar again my body remembers the fiery trials like the heat of summer and seems to wither in its sting rather than stand weathered and resistant.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fullfilled is the tree of life.” the wise man wrote. It’s hard to dream when hope seems to keep getting pushed away by the hot troubles of life. I noticed today that I don’t dream much. I don’t aspire to hopeful things, beautiful things. I would say I feel like the Psalmist, weaned, not thinking about things too high for me. But the reality is I feel like a sick child, tired, curled up fetal trying to sleep away the hard things.

There’s only one way to escape the heat of summer- get in the shade.

I find it hard to dream, but like Elijah, I can hunker down some place and give up. Yet, even there I find the Lord comes nourishing my weak flesh, letting me rest, and giving me what I need to keep going.

Sometimes all you can do is find a place to hide with God’s word and cry. Sometimes that’s all you need to do.

There is a dream of a hope of a place I have never been, of a man I have never met, of a love I have only felt echoed in my chest when I read things like, “I have come to give you life full of life.” If I lay down to die under some broom tree of shade, some silent place, some Starbucks, or glass of wine, or early morning outside, even there I cannot escape the presence of the shadow of his wings. Even there his hand holds me.

Hope that keeps being put aside does make the heart sick. But when you look to Jesus, the sick heart is shaded by a reviving hope in the heat of trouble. Is your heart sick? Does hope seem to evade you? Look to Jesus. His wings are big enough to shade you from the heat and feed you hope in the very place where trouble beats down.

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