“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” Ps 84:5-7
No-one seems to be completely sure where the valley of Baca was located back in the days when psalm 84 was written. However, there is consensus on the fact that it must have been a dry, inhospitable place, not the kind of place you would have wanted to spend your annual holiday, not much water to splash around in for the children, most likely no water at all. It is also referred to sometimes as the valley of weeping.
I wonder as you read this in this what season of life you find yourself in? Perhaps you have felt the valley walls closing in on you through some kind of unexpected event, news or disappointment.
- Change will come
“As they pass through” is the phrase first associated with this pilgrimage and states emphatically that the valley, will at some point in the journey, be behind us. We will not always be in this place of dark weeping. Valleys have a beginning and an ending. Valleys with high, steep oppressive walls hide the light and warmth of the sun for a season in the pilgrimage, but this will not always be the case. Knowing there is an end point empowers us to press on towards that end.
- Discovery beckons
“They make it a place of springs” is the follow up phrase to those who understand this season of weeping will come to an end. They therefore ask themselves the question, “How can I honour God in this season of diminished living and lack of sunshine? They make the greatest discovery the human heart can make … the light of the living God within life’s darkest shadow. We are not alone, never have been and never will be. It’s impossible. God simply is everywhere at once. The water of life begins to nourish our souls. People notice. We look different. God’s light is shining again through a broken vessel.
- Abundance up ahead
“The autumn rains also cover it with pools” is the final prophetic statement awarded to every believer who has set their heart on pilgrimage, not just seepage water, but pools of life giving pure rain. Jesus really did mean it when he said he came to give us abundant life. So, why the valley of dark disappointment then you may well ask? Valleys teach us things open plains never can. Valleys are harsh reminders of our frailty. Valleys make us check very carefully the condition of our hearts. Valleys do not respond to quick fix solutions, they demand deep passionate faith from us.
Prayer: Loving Father, thank you for your grace given to us today. Guide us through this dark valley of disappointment, learning along the way what you want us to, that we may grow stronger each day.