God has the ability to show you what He has in store for you, even when things aren’t going your way.
When you find yourself challenged, struggling, depressed, frustrated, or defeated it can seem that the only honest and realistic position to take is to embrace where you are for what it is and accept the negative circumstances, obstacles, and feelings that are so clearly predominant and observable facts in that moment. And yet, God is offering more. God knows that the facts are the facts. It’s not that God wants you to ignore the challenges facing you. It’s that God is ready to engage and uncover every aspect of the situation you find yourself in today. And more than that, God is ready to bring about a change in your life for the better. God is ready to come in with His vision for your life, a vision to bless you with super-natural favor, super-natural abundance, super-natural connections, super-natural goodness — and mercy and success and prosperity and peace and joy and fulfillment and health and an over-flowing and eternal accomplishment of His will for your life. And nothing is going to stand in His way.
In the last chapter of the his book, the prophet Hosea reports God’s final words to him,
“Stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” – Hosea 14
Hosea then goes on to add his own personal interpretation of what God is really driving at, concluding that,
“Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.” – Hosea 14
Righteous people live by walking in them. Like so many of the prophetic voices in the Bible, Hosea is laced with both hope and warning. He clearly saw that the people of his time were falling away from a healthy relationship with God because they were looking for answers in all the wrong places, no longer trusting in God to provide for them, and instead inventing beliefs, religions, traditions, rituals, and practices similar to many of the surrounding nations, mostly focussed on idol worship of one form or another, rather than developing a connection with the actual God who could save them.
Hosea knew that his country was under threat from foreign empires that were growing in power and reach. He knew these other states did not share a faith in God, believing instead, very similarly to modern day North Korea, in their own leaders as divine figures as a way to maintain control, establish their own capricious laws, and limit individual freedom. In fact, it is likely that within Hosea’s own lifetime, his country was ultimately invaded, its people captured, and its independence ended as he had forecasted would occur as a result of its loss of a moral conscience, the rule of law, and a strong relationship between its people and God.
Hosea believed that his country brought about its own fall. He did not believe that any empire on earth could have defeated his country in its prime, but he saw that the invading empire would be able to enslave his people and send them into captivity in foreign lands because they had already enslaved themselves in corruption, poor judgment, and false beliefs by being out of touch with reality and instead believing the stories they told themselves and refusing to embrace the facts about their situation and making the necessary changes to restore their own freedom, unity, strength, and prosperity.
And yet, Hosea believes in salvation. Hosea’s conversations with God convey hope for the future and a path back to prosperity even in the face of immediate defeat. Hosea is not communicating final judgment and desolation. For him, the fall of his nation is the not the end of its story. He is simply observing the present time for what it is and adding to that a clear vision for what it can become. This is the key, Hosea didn’t let his current circumstances obscure his view of what God could accomplish. He was comfortable with the dynamic tension between engaging the reality of the mess that he was in and seeing the opportunity that God was offering for a better future.
Hosea had clear vision even in dark places.
Having clear vision in dark places is more than a shallow kind of optimism. It’s more than just hoping things turn out right or having a positive attitude. Having a vision in dark places is finding the ability to reach down deep and connect with a more complete view of reality. It means engaging with a broader, deeper, and more realistic view of your circumstances. Having clear vision, regardless of circumstances, means embracing more than just what you see in the moment, and choosing to accept more of what God sees in you. Having clear vision in dark places is about opening your eyes of faith and observing not just what you are facing, but who is facing it with you.
“I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” – God.