Around Thanksgiving break, a few of my guy friends took a camping trip. They packed food and tents and hammocks and loaded up and headed out to the woods. The weekend they were there, they encountered a few minor setbacks but for the most part, they were just obviously isolated - no cell phones, no contact with the outside world.

In my walk with Christ, sometimes I feel like that - isolated and disconnected - from Jesus.

I recently walked through an all-but-joyful season of life. In my quiet time, God revealed Hosea 2:14 to my heart.

Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.

I encountered this verse and wept. Yes, this season of life was not ideal and may not at all have been what I would've chosen to walk through- but our God is faithful. Since reading this verse and chapter, my whole outlook on undesirable seasons and the nature of our God has changed.

Maybe we're in a season where we feel isolated and disconnected because God couldn't get through to us when we were involved and plugged in. Our God is a jealous and loving God, and He will do absolutely whatever it takes to draw us back to Himself, even if that means bringing us into the wilderness.

While in this 'wilderness,' it is easy to acquire anger. Thoughts such as "if God really is good, why am I encountering this?" or "I don't understand why God would want me to feel this way," always run through my mind, but those are thoughts from the enemy.

The devil wants us to feel inadequate, but if we would take God at His word, and trust His goodness, even in the hard seasons, we would realize that it is there that God wants to speak life into our dry and feeble hearts.

Our tough seasons are meant to be reflected upon with gratitude and grace.

Grace transforms our pain into gratitude. When we look at our seasons of suffering and realize God isn't punishing us, it allows us to be thankful for His gentle treatment and tender words. This shows that God is able and ready to forgive our sins and mend our relationship with Him.

God intends to show us His beauty and majesty and allows us to taste His goodness and love. He desires to show us glimpses of His joy. The sweetness of His promises is enough to turn our hearts from our idols and make God the Lord of our lives.

It is in those seemingly-negative seasons that God wants to teach our undistracted and undivided hearts who He truly is and the plans and purposes He has for our lives. Grace allows us to view God for who He is- forever-faithful and relentlessly-loving