This is Day 3 of 40 days of the allegorical devotional fiction, The Woman in the Wilderness.
The Valley, Dark & Dim
Rapturous glee sprung from her tired soul. And yet, upon closer inspection of the valley, apprehension quickly replaced her joy. The valley was dark, with no end in sight. Foreboding was the only word she could think of to describe it. But what other way is there? Clenching her fists with determination, she decided that she had to go through this valley.
But I don’t even know what’s in there, the familiar voice of doubt attempted to shake her resolve and she found herself dreading what would happen if her trek through the valley didn’t end before nightfall. What will I do then?
As she stood unmoving, battling within herself to decide her next move, a soft breeze cooled her sun-parched skin and with it, came a soft whisper:
Blessed are those whose strength is in Me, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
She breathed a deep sigh and closed her eyes as if to savor the breeze and bask in the marvelous light that those words brought to the dark, fearful crevices of her soul. I go from strength to strength. He will see His strength rise up within me through every step of this journey.
With a determination that surprised even her, she gathered up her courage and took a step through the valley’s small opening. She had only gone a couple of meters into the valley when an unmistakable rippling sound stopped her on her tracks. She couldn’t believe her ears! Was that water?
She turned around to look at the path she had already walked on. From the very spot where she took her first step into the valley, water was gushing out of the ground.
She stood rooted to her spot in surprise as, right before her very eyes, a spring formed along the valley. She was still standing in disbelief when it finally dawned on her that she was absolutely parched, so she bent down and scooped a cupful of water into her hands and drank it in. It was water unlike any other, refreshing not only her body, but her soul.
A renewed sense of hope rose within her. What am I sulking for? Why am I so downcast? A smile formed on her face as she continued her journey, walking deeper and deeper into the unknowns of the valley. She was no longer apprehensive. She knew that He was going to take care of her and that this journey of hers was an adventure.
As she brought the newly formed spark of light in her soul into the recesses of that dark, uncharted valley, she was fairly certain that finding Him would outweigh all the costs.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5 (NIV)
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 (NIV)
We forget too easily. We forget that we are not the same people who took that life-changing first step to follow God Almighty. We forget that should we look back to the point where we began, and to the point where we are now, we have gone from strength to strength.
We’ve gone past treks through our very own “Valleys of Baka”, translated as valleys of weeping. And our tears have been a source of restoration and refreshment, not only to ourselves, but also to others.
We forget, and we despair, and we find our souls downcast, our minds bewildered, but we’ve decided not to turn back. Amidst all the doubts and all the apprehensions, we take that step forward in our journey. One foot after another. One day at a time. One hour at a time. One second at a time.
And we walk on, because we have set our hearts on this pilgrimage, and though we sometimes falter, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and will ourselves to keep going on.
It is His strength that enables us to do this. This where we are strong. A kind leader of mine once told me: You are strongest when you are weak. This has rung true with every step toward Him that I took in moments of weakness. He has become my Strength, my Source of refreshment.
This is our story as His church, His bride. We go from strength to strength – even when it doesn’t feel like that – until we see Him face to face.
Take a moment to reflect today. In what areas of your life – areas of weakness maybe – has He given you grace to go from strength to strength? Are you thankful? Is it something worth celebrating? Is He not deserving of our worship?
Why so downcast, soul? Put your trust in God.