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Stories coming back from conflict zones, that are generally cheering and put a smile on your face, are fairly scarce. Just recently I read a news article coming out of a lonely and increasingly abandoned town in East Ukraine just 10km short of the front line.
It concerned a group of older women who took the bold decision, amid the regular sound of shelling, to restart a choir that they had earlier decided to put on ice since it was dangerous and also because people were moving away.
What they discovered was that when they sang it was as if their troubles were gone and the shelling was only like that of distant thunder in a storm.
The choir leader said that many of the children and grandchildren were no longer living there and that with the loneliness people became tempted – she paused and then said – to commit suicide.
One sidebar to this story is that they have now renamed the choir “the golden hope”.
There is a wonderful little verse tucked away in the backyard of the Old Testament which reads:
“I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.” (Hosea Chapter 2 Verse 15)
The Bible speaks about how God is the One who can truly turn the Valley of Achor (which means “trouble”) into a place of hope. We see how people will then respond – they will sing.
I wonder, especially in uncertain times, whether you have a reason to sing? I wonder whether you have come to know the One and Only who can so effortlessly turn any Valley of Trouble into a door of hope?