When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
~Psalm 84:6, NLT
The death of Jesus for our sins means that someday God the Father can judge and destroy all evil and suffering without destroying us in the process.
The KJV of Psalm 84:6 reads, Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. The Hebrew word ‘baca’ means weeping. Thus the NLT gives us a literal translation. Some of you may remember Junior Hill’s famous sermon, “The Valley Of Tears,” which comes from this text. As I was reading this familiar Psalm this morning some new insights came to mind. The valley of Baca may have very well been a literal place but it is also a figurative place. It is a low valley filled with holes. We might call them pot wholes. They symbolize the holes that our sufferings leave in our hearts. This world is a valley of tears. Darlene is in deep grief over the tragic death of her brother and sister-in-law. Tragedy of this nature gashes a huge hole in our hearts. As the Pilgrims passed through the valley of tears during the dry season, they could dig cisterns [holes to hold water]. When the autumn rains came, these holes became wells of fresh water so that pilgrims passing through the valley could drink instead of thirst. Perhaps you don’t follow my thinking. Let me share Timothy Kellers March 23 devotion from Proverbs. This is word for word…almost…you know me, I always have to edit.
Like Job, we get no full explanation for our suffering. Yet we know something that Job did not–that God in Christ joined us in the darkness, and that though He was perfectly innocent, He suffered, He experienced three lonely hours of darkness, being forsaken by the Father while His body suffered excruciating agony. He experienced the absence of the Father, the betrayal of a friend, the rejection of a nation, and the shame of being stripped naked and impaled on a wooden cross. No other human has ever endured such suffering. The evil that assaulted Jesus, in the end, defeated itself. The death of Jesus for our sins means that someday God the Father can judge and destroy all evil and suffering without destroying us in the process. This is the final answer to Job and all of the Job’s of this world. When you suffer, you can know that your are walking the exact same path as Jesus and this path leads directly to Himself. Don’t wait for an explanation for your suffering before you put your trust in Christ. In the midst of the darkness and the uncertainly, trust Jesus.
Now for the good news: the deep holes or gashes that suffering makes in our inner being will become wells of refreshing water. God will fill these holes with His grace and mercy. This I promise, the people who are going to encourage you most, love you most, understand you most are people who have suffered. You will never meet a spiritually mature believer who has lived a life of ease and comfort.
When I was young, I aspired to be a great preacher than in mid-life it dawned on me, all great preachers have suffered some form of tragedy. Adrian Rogers and Ron Dunn lost sons; Manley Beasley lost his health. Missionary Clyde Dotson lost three children and two wives. He buried all five in African soil where he spent more than 30 years of his life. After the loss of his second wife, he became so lonely that he almost gave way to despair. Some times he walked 30 miles a day just so he would be totally exhausted because this was the only way he could sleep: other wise the loneliness kept him awake for nights at a time. Once I realized how great men had suffered, I changed my mind about wanted to be great. Accuse me of sour grapes if you want but I am perfectly content to labor in obscurity.
I need some sunshine where I can flush the toilet. My field lines don’t work in this weather. Had a great time yesterday working with the DBC crew in feeding the Seniors.