5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob.
I love this passage for so many different reasons. I need to break it down this morning and remind myself of the promises in every verse.
Blessed are those whose strength is in You……..
Don’t we all long for a blessing…..
A feeling that God is saying, ‘Here, because of your belief in me, your trust in me, I am giving you peace, joy, hope….”
And truthfully, where else could I put my strength? We try to put it in our careers, our savings accounts, our family, our friends, maybe even our hobbies, but in the end………….
All we’ll be left with is God……………beautiful, wonderful God. So I have to put my strength in Him. He is my only lasting Rock.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca…
Yes, that’s where I’m at. The Valley of Tears. Going there doesn’t sound like an option of “if” but the reality of “when.” So my “time” of passing through is now…..
And that’s what God says, I’m passing through. That sounds hopeful. Like maybe there’s a place to walk up out of this valley for a time! I have to remember that while I’m here, I’m simply passing through………..that’s hard to remember when morning after morning the tears keep coming and night after night they come again.
That’s why I love the next part so much!
They make it a place of springs. The autumn rains also cover it with pools.
Wow! In these valleys it looks we still have a purpose and that purpose is good. Who wouldn’t want to stumble upon a spring while in a dry and barren land. I think that’s what God is calling us to in our grief. He’s calling us to take our tears and create springs of hope for a hurting world. Springs that say, “we’re going to make it through this valley…..you can too….”
Oh, Lord, help me to take my tears and transform them into springs of hope not puddles of despair. I’m trusting in Your strength in this dry and barren land.
And then the passage goes on to tell me that “yes, it is truly an over and over again decision to trust.”
I won’t trust in God’s strength one morning and then suddenly, miraculously everything will be “all better”
Verse 7 says, “They go from strength to strength til each appears before God in Zion.”
Okay, I feel better. Because I just have enough strength to get out of bed sometimes. And other days I may have enough strength to send someone a note or take my son and his friends to the movies or let Olivia have a friend over to play or clean the back porch or do the laundry….
All I know is that sometimes the only strength I have is not enough to do much more than the “next thing.”
So, I trust that after this strength God will give me more strength…
And I truly learn to live “from strength to strength!”
And finally, as I pass through this valley of sadness, I trust that God is listening as I pray.
Those dark prayers on my closet floor, those desperate prayers on my knees laying over my bed, those short prayers I whisper under my breath as I do the dishes, and the list goes on and on,
Hear My Prayer, Lord God Almighty.
Listen to me, O God of Jacob.
Grief has brought me a new best friend. One I should have had all my life.
God, You are my best friend. My Father. My Lord. My Fortress.
But most of all right now.
You are my Strength.
I know this valley is something I will pass through eventually. And I find comfort in that truth. But deep inside I also know that while I will in a sense “walk out of the depths of this valley,” I will never, ever forget Nick or not miss him. I know this so deeply because I walked this valley with Adrienne, and yes, I did eventually “pass through it.” But she is forever with me and I am forever thankful.
I read this quote from a book and it made me feel better about this aspect of grief.
“My grief journey has no one destination. I will not “get over it.” The
understanding that I don’t have to be done is liberating. I will mourn this
death for the rest of my life.” (p. 102)
Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., (1997) The Journey Through Grief,
Fort Collins, Co: Companion Press.
So while the Valley of Baca, the place of sadness and misery that I often find myself in, is something I will pass through, I am okay with the fact that my grief has no true destination. I don’t have to rush to find this “place” where I’ll be healed or “over it.”
No, I am Adrienne’s mom and I am Nick’s mom. And I will forever grieve their absence from me. And that’s okay. It’s a small price to pay for the honor of being their mom.
So as I cry, my prayers are that the tears will become springs of hope.
And as I walk, my prayer is that God will continue to be my strength.
And as I pass through this valley, my prayer is that if someone is walking the same valley not too far behind me that in my footprints they may find springs of hope…..
That they too will pass through and make it to the other side….
From Strength to Strength.
Passing Through the Valley,