The Valley of Weeping
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.
Psalm 84: 5-7
Have you ever found yourself in a place that you just don’t want to be? The Valley of Baka would be my worst nightmare… hot and very dry, no shade, no refreshment… the energy would just be sucked right out of me.
We find the psalmist passing through this valley on a pilgrimage, on a journey. On one level, a pilgrimage can be an analogy of life, can’t it, we journey through it… experiencing joy, celebrations, success and blessing but also sorrow, hardship, trouble and tragedy. For those of us who believe, our ultimate destination is heaven, being in the presence of our Lord and God… on the way, there can be all sorts of ups and downs, highs and lows.
This Valley of Baka is translated as the Valley of Weeping. Now there’s a picture - hemmed in by the steep cliffs and hills on all sides, it’s a desperate place – a place of sadness, confusion, disappointment, loss, tragedy… a hopeless place. It’s a valley that most of us will find ourselves in at some stage in our lives and, indeed, many people are in that valley of weeping right now.
This is a season of disruption and uncertainty to one degree or another – we might feel hemmed in - and, for some, it is a season of tragedy and loss. Life wasn’t meant to turn out like this and tears flow… perhaps in secret and alone.
And yet in this psalm, we find the pilgrims making this desperate valley a place of springs. They make it a place of refreshment. And refreshment brings the energy to keep going and to get through the difficult part of the journey with the knowledge that the destination is a better place. The pilgrims bring hope!
Look around and ask God. Who needs comfort? Who needs encouragement? Who needs to hear words of hope? Who needs a friend alongside them to get through to the other side of this pandemic?
In a few weeks, we’ll be joining in again with Thinking of You Week – it’s one of our busiest weeks of the year because that’s what we’re about! And we simply want to encourage you to think and pray about who you could be reach out to (it doesn’t have to wait until then, of course). This year, it has more significance than ever and we hope and pray that we can help make this current valley of weeping a Place of Springs.
Thinking of You Week begins 21st September.