Does God use painful trials to bring us hope? The two don’t seem like a good marriage … painful trials and hope … do they? Let me show you a couple of things God says about this.

I’m reading through my Bible and just recently finished Joshua. Do you remember the story of Achan and his itchy fingers? Here’s my spin on it …

In Joshua 6:17-19, God made it clear that everyone in Jericho, with the exception of Rahab and her family, was cursed to die. God never stutters in His commands. Plain as day He told the Israelites that everything that wouldn’t burn would be devoted to the Lord’s house. Israel was supposed to keep their paws off anything and everything that was devoted to the Lord.

You probably remember that in Joshua 7, Achan’s fingers itched and rather than getting himself a little spiritual Benadryl, he scratched. Okay, so he didn’t really scratch, but he did help himself to “a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels” (Joshua 7:21).

As the story goes, God wasn’t kidding when He gave His command and as a result of Achan’s disobedience, Achan, his wife, his children, his livestock, and all his possessions were taken to the Valley of Achor where they were stoned.

I’m kind of a geek about knowing what biblical words mean in their original context and language, so I looked up the word “Achor” and found that it means “trouble.” (Hebrew: Akowr) How fitting.

The Valley of Achor is mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. The book of Hosea tells the shocking story of Hosea, a prophet who was commanded to marry a known harlot, Gomer. This story has enough  juiciness to warrent a major motion picture movie. One thing is apparent: Hosea’s life demonstrated how hard it is to love someone who is unfaithful, the way God continued to love Israel. In Hosea 2:15 God says, “There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope.”

Did you catch that? God can and will usher us out of the Valley of Achor to a door of hope! He will transform this place of trouble into a place where Christ reigns with the hope of glory.

The remainder of Hosea 2:15 says, “And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.”

Friend, if you are in the midst of healing a broken heart … if you have loved someone who was unfaithful – perhaps because of pornography … hang on. In God’s economy nothing is wasted, including our pain. He will use this valley of trouble to usher you to a door of hope. When that door swings wide open, you can trust that He is waiting on the other side of it.


My book, When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography … Healing Your Wounded Heart will release from New Growth Press in October (2012).