“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam.”Psalm 46:1–3
Following Christ often invites trouble rather than avoids it. But God promises to “make the Valley of Achor a door of hope” (Hosea 2:15). Achor means “trouble.” So God’s promise is to change Trouble’s Valley into Hope’s Garden. There is no valley more troublesome than Christ’s cross, and yet there is nothing more hopeful than Jesus’ resurrection. You see, hope comes alive when we are born again to faith in the risen Christ (1 Peter 1:3), and it keeps faith alive by anchoring our souls in him (Hebrews 6:19). As we pass through the Valley of Achor, Christ anchors our hope.
Hope is the backbone of faith. Faith starts us down the path, and hope keeps us walking. Faith stands on God’s promises; hope stands up to the bullies of fear and doubt. When trials strike and when despair rolls like thunder through our souls, hope is our anchor in troubled waters. Not in itself, mind you, but in Christ in whom it rests. When trouble finds us, let’s learn to say, “Though God slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15).
“Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ashes.” (Elisabeth Elliot, 1979)