“As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.”
Psalm 84:6 (NIV).
In Hebrew, the word “baka” means tears.
In Psalm 84, the sons of Korah write their praises of God and note that those whose strength is in the Lord will travel through the Valley of Baka and find His peace there. For some of us that Valley of Tears seems never-ending, but we must remember we are not alone in it. I wrote this poem to remind myself of that truth. I hope it blesses you as you pass through the valley of tears, too.
The Valley of Tears
My Savior will dry all my tears The Lord God knows all my fears As I trudge onward many years I pass through the Valley of Baka
Great pain and agony oppress I feel heavy weights of duress Praying for dear Jesus to bless I pass through the Valley of Baka
I see that this valley is long I need You to make my faith strong That Lord I might sing a praise song As I pass through the Valley of Baka
Your friends “fingers” might be appreciated, but they can’t lift the darkness. They may want to help you, but they are limited in what they can do. Overcoming depression has to start from the inside, and the Holy Spirit will lead you through this. The darkness doesn’t always lift, but the Lord’s presence soothes and comforts.
“For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.”
Psalm 143:3, ESV
“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.”
“No one is righteous— not even one. 11 No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. 12 All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”
Scripture never, ever flatters the human ego. It acts on us directly, “dividing the spirit from the soul.” I find no glowing review of our “noble” humanity. The opposite is true.
At our deepest core, the Bible teaches that we are depraved—separated from truth and goodness. In theology this is called, “original sin.” (I don’t think there is really anything original about it.) There is also a concept called “contrition.” It means, “having sorrow or sadness over sin involving making steps to amend your ways.” Notice the definition instills a sense of action. Perhaps the idea of penitence need a new emphasis?
Does your discipleship include the reality of you?
There are broad, generalized teachings that are woven into the Word— the iniquity and fallenness of men. It consistently talks a seemless truth, without fail. ( That’s one of the reasons why I know the Bible is true.) Yet the Father has made provision for our falseness and weakness, he sweeps nothing under a cosmic rug. You might say the Scripture completely understands us, as us. Our illusions and deceptions, blatant or subtle, do not confuse or mislead him.
Our discipleship must be “walked out” in brokenness. That is the only way it will work.
We have absolutely nothing to boast about. I cannot point to this blog— or having been a missionary, a teacher and a pastor as my “good things.” Today, I sat and became very aware of my inner wickedness. But because He directly intervenes in my life, I will not die in my sins like I deserve.
I am sad. You see, I am fallen, a complete failure. It’s easier to find water in the Sahara Desert than to find goodness in my heart. As a matter of fact, I’ve taken evil to a new level. I excel, and then I keep practicing it trying to squeeze out more and more power— pride— pleasure.
Those who mourn their contagiously evil hearts (Matthew 5:3-4) are the ones who God can comfort. Our sadness over our sin (and the sin of the world)—is evidence of the Spirit’s action over our depravity. Look for it, and rest in the Spirit’s work.
“Original sin is in us, like the beard. We are shaved today and look clean, and have a smooth chin; tomorrow our beard has grown again, nor does it cease growing while we remain on earth. In like manner original sin cannot be extirpated [completely destroyed] from us; it springs up in us as long as we live. Nevertheless we are bound to resist it to our utmost strength, and to cut it down unceasingly.”
“He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.”
-2 Cor. 1:4, NCV
“The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: “Who among us can dwell withthe consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
Isaiah 33:14, ESV
There has to be some sort of confusion here. Some discrepancy, some incongruity, something overlooked. But things are never what they seem, and that is accentuated when we are in real pain. We think that whatever trouble we get enmeshed in, can’t have any real redeeming value. Or does it?
After a period of time walking with God, whose presence is true fire, we should process this prominent thought. Suffering is part of God’s idea. He has plans that hinge on our pain. It has been deliberately placed into our lives.
A competent pharmacist will be extremely aware of the drug he is filling for a patient. Never too much, nor too little. God is even more meticulous and acutely alert when it comes to suffering and pain. He has an intense love for you through it all. He drops in the proper amount needed for that moment. It is confined and designed to heal, grow, and strengthen. Never to harm or destroy. He is not punishing you.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Keller understood. She was both deaf and blind, since infancy. From this dark and complete isolation, she broke through. Helen Keller became a potent and significant woman. She would graduate from college and became a famed public speaker of international renown.
“God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children. He never allows Satan, nor circumstances, nor any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He uses that affliction for our good. God never wastes pain. He always causes it to work together for our ultimate good, the good of conforming us more to the likeness of His Son” (see Romans 8:28-29).
Gold fears no fire.
We must believe pain has purposes. Life teaches us how to love. Some seem to go through life “charmed”, they are really not hurt in any substantial way. If that is the case, reach out and help someone else, for there’s certainly enough pain and evil to go around. (We should find ourselves actively sharing in the trials of others.)
I think that when a believer finally arrives in heaven, they will be ushered in limping, wounded, leaning on an angel for support. They will bring it all to Jesus, their scars remembered, and their sins forgiven. And we will be transformed, fit for heaven.