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The Door of Hope
I stared dismally into the mostly empty cupboard. I was in a pickle. I was experiencing a wee bit of trouble. I was in a dip, a valley - the valley of Achor - so to speak. We had arrived home from church - ‘we’ being my husband, myself, our four children and three friends. Seven children, two adults - all hungry.
The house smelled appetizing. The lasagna had baked beautifully and filled the house with its rich aroma and we were all anticipating a satisfying meal. That is, until I accidentally flipped the lasagna upside down onto the floor as I transferred it from oven to counter. If there had been no witnesses, there is a very good chance I would have carefully reassembled the lasagna into the pan and simply placed it onto the table and served it up with a smile; however, my 12 year old daughter and her guest witnessed the event and 12 year old girls are notoriously chatty and squeamish. There is no way they would have kept my secret and there is not a child in the house who would have taken a bite.
So, there I was, staring through the cupboard door wondering what I was going to whip up for 9 hungry people. The weekend had caused a serious dwindling of supplies and things were feeling somewhat hopeless. I desperately wanted to be the woman of Proverbs 31. The one who “is clothed with strength and dignity;” the one “who can laugh at the days to come”(v. 25). I felt so weak that one upside down pan of lasagna could undo me. Where was my strength and my dignity? Where was laughter? I wasn’t seeing much humour in this situation.
As I huddled in the corner staring into a dark space, the words from a passage in Hosea came to mind. In this passage the Lord says He “will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope” (2:15). I remember reading that verse and seeing the footnote that ‘Achor’ means trouble and I was impressed that God would make the Valley of Trouble into a door of hope. I also loved the image that sprang to mind - a door of hope - what a lovely door. How wonderful to see this door in the midst of troubles, to be able to turn the doorknob and enter in. Entering a door is a choice is it not? Who would chose not to enter the door of hope?
My hand closed upon a can of tomato sauce. I reached to the back of the cupboard and pulled out the spaghetti noodles. My kind and gentle husband, seeing I could use some encouraging, cheerfully announced that he loved making spaghetti sauce and he went to work sauteing and sprinkling spices.
I was quietly mulling over my thoughts. This door of hope had me thinking. I actually felt like wallowing. I was tired. Seven children at our house for the weekend had left a fair bit of mess and required some intervention and creativity on my part. They had made lots of noise and requested quite a number of snacks. Now this. The lunch ruined and everyone wanting food and my carefully laid plans splattered on the floor, being licked up by the dog.
It really wasn’t such a terrible emergency. The spaghetti was underway. My husband was doing most of the cooking. I really could just snap out of it, find the whole thing a big joke and carry on. Why the desire to be miserable? Why not take the happier road?
Our Sunday sermon had been about peace. The pastor submitted to us that God gives peace and when we do not have peace, it is not because God has not provided peace for that particular circumstance, it is because we do not choose to receive His peace. I couldn’t help relating this to the ‘door of hope’. Peace and hope are such desirable qualities and according to God’s Word He has gifted us with them; yet so often I actually choose to shun His peace - I refuse to walk up to the door of hope, grasp the doorknob and walk over the threshold. Thankfully, God is so patient with us. Hosea 2:14 demonstrates His amazing mercy, to our wayward hearts. Hear His words, “I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” I love that. He leads us into barren, empty places. To places where we will hear His voice speaking tenderly to us and there in those places He shows us the ‘door of hope’. The way to peace.
I never did find the lasagna incident hilarious, but I am thankful for the object lesson it provided to me. In the Valley of Trouble, there is a door of hope.
Open the door and enter in.