Two years after my husband passed away from cancer, I was still grieving . I had known the comfort of the Lord and of family and friends, but that ache cast a pall over everything. It sapped my strength and I felt I was functioning on autopilot. I was living and working in West Africa with people I loved. I loved my job. My son was a soldier in Iraq and my high school daughter was with me. So I had plenty material for prayer.
One morning during my prayer time, I was reading Psalm 84 when the Lord opened my eyes with His truth about my situation. I read verses 1-4:
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Selah
That was it! I so desperately needed the Living God! I imagined myself as that little sparrow nestling up near the altar. I thought, “If I could just stay here and never have to move, I would have everything I need!” But then, I read on.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca, 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
What? Did I really have to get up and continue the journey? Then I realized I had been in a valley. In fact, the word for valley, Baca, means “tears.” Truly, I had been in a valley of tears. The Lord was saying to me that He would be my strength, that He would make something good come from this valley of tears. He would make it a place of springs (life-giving water). He would give me strength after strength till I see Him face to face.
Fear and Hope
As we begin another New Year, many uncertainties tend to cross our minds. Some can even cause great concern and fear of what is to come. Let us go to God’s Word for some encouraging words. First, what does Job have to say? He certainly faced many hard times.
“But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause, who does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number.”
“He sets on high those who are lovely, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success.”
“But He saves the needy from the sword of their mouth and from the hand of the mighty, so the poor have hope, and injustice shut her mouth.”
(Job 5:8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16 ESV)
Isaiah also had encouraging words appropriate for the New Year.
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
(Isaiah 40:31 ESV).
May the New Year fill you with God’s hope and blessings and may you “mount up like an eagle.”