These words usually describe someone who has experience in dealing with challenging situations. And in case you don’t know this, I have a newsflash for you: life can be very challenging.
Perhaps you’ve been climbing up a mountain for a long time and now you’re staring down Thanksgiving and feeling anything but thankful. Perhaps you’ve just come through a challenge and you’re just now reflecting on it. Maybe you see the next challenge coming and you’re feeling just a teeny, weeny bit of dread.
Welcome to the club. Psalm 84:5-7 reminds us…
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, 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.
When long struggles are over, there is a physical relief accompanying our emotions. The resolution of our circumstances can be very overwhelming. It is to this the Psalmist writes in these verses. When our strength and our very beings are hidden in Christ (cf. Colossians 3:3), we experience the blessings of fellowship with our loving Creator as we continue this pilgrimage to our home in heaven.
Even as we pass through “the Valley of Baka”, we don’t have to fear our calamity. And we each have our valley of tears where the battle is difficult and the situation is painful. We all have felt (or are feeling) helpless and hopeless BUT we are not without help nor are we without hope!
Instead, we are grateful with the upward perspective we have in our ongoing challenges. After all, no one ever said it would be easy; the Lord just promised we’d never walk alone. We walk in the strength granted to us in all circumstances by our Lord Jesus.
Dear one in Christ, we are more like our Lord Jesus when we suffer than when we prosper. For it is in our suffering we experience grace in Him. It’s in pain we know what comfort feels like.
It’s only the storm of the valley making the rainbow on the mountaintop so peaceful. Our strength does not come from an optimistic outlook, but a faith uplook. Our hearts are set on Him and our souls know the paths to His throne room where He waits to carry us through the valley.
Beloved of the Lord, use the next few days to show the Lord your gratitude for all the blessings in your life. Reject the call of Black Friday telling you there must be more before you’ll be happy and enjoy the grace He has already given you.
Note to my readers: starting this Sunday (December 1), I’ll be publishing an Advent blog on Sundays. You need to do nothing to receive this as it will post through my website (and to your inbox).