I broke last week. I broke under a burden of my own creation, a weighty mass of human striving and accusations against God’s character, made even heavier by self-contempt for believing the lies instead of what I knew was true.
But in the life of the Christ-follower, brokenness isn’t the end, but the beginning.
It doesn’t precede destruction, but restoration. And last Saturday, on a day when I pounded my fist in helplessness, shouting that I just couldn’t do it anymore, He began to do something beautiful in my heart.
Because I couldn’t do it anymore. Not this way.
I couldn’t live as a follower of Jesus while affirming with my lips but denying with my life two of the things that make Him Him:
He is grace embodied.
And He sees me.
He pursued me relentlessly with his grace and intimacy this week, in the words of those who love me, in the books I’ve read, and in the nature I’ve enjoyed. But most precious to me have been His words through Hosea, words of illogical grace.
I saw that I was Gomer, Hosea’s adulterous wife, who had sought satisfaction and provision in the arms of another, not acknowledging that her husband was the one “who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil.”
And here is where the grace is illogical.
“I will punish her,” the Lord said. “’I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,’ declares the Lord. Therefore [emphasis mine] 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 Achor a door of hope.”
I would circle this “therefore” in red if I saw this in one of my student’s essays. “Inappropriate transition,” I would write. My beloved teacher Mrs. Heath’s voice would echo: “Whenever you see ‘therefore,’ you need to see what it’s there for!”
And that is the beautiful, paradoxical logic of God’s grace. The “therefore” isn’t there for anything, at least not any of Gomer’s merits. It is simply there for love.
God’s words become even more breathtaking when you delve into what “the Valley of Achor” represents. Some translations interpret it as “trouble,” but it’s the “why” behind the trouble that points to grace and redemption so beautifully.
The Valley of Achor was named after Achan, who sinned against the Lord and was stoned to death in that very place (Joshua 7:25-26).
The Lord says He would turn the valley where sin led to death to a door of hope. What a striking foreshadowing of the redemption to come in Christ over 700 years later!
Echoing Sara Hagerty, my brokenness has brought me to a place of looking to the Father and saying, “I barely know you.” I barely know Him, His grace, His character, His love, but how I want to.
He is turning this valley of trouble into a door of hope. And I can’t wait to see what He’ll do next.