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Springs Through The Valley Of Baca

Psalm 84: 6-7 Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a place of springs; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

After a lifetime of manual work exposed to the sun, John’s body is bearing the ravages of skin cancer. At almost 87, his tanned, leathery skin has had more cancers burnt away than he can possibly count. And most of these menacing marks are on his face.  Thus far this year, he has lost a portion of his nose and right ear to the surgeon’s scalpel. He probably wonders where the next cancer will appear.

John is taking his own pilgrimage through the Valley of Baca. ‘Baca’ can mean weeping and I have no doubt, that John has shed enough tears over the times he has done battle with cancer. But Christ is John’s Savior, and he knows that every pilgrim will pass through their own valley before that glorious day when they come face to face with Jesus.

Despite the disappointments and hardships, John has chosen to make, as the Scripture says, this place a ‘place of springs’. I asked him how he does that? Firstly, and most importantly, John’s heart is set on Heaven, and living in eternity with Christ. He has set his affections on Jesus and living the way that His Savior would desire. Nothing will deter John from that goal.

Colossians 3:2-3 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

In pain, Johns holds onto the hope and promises of the Word. Scripture is his spiritual food, and his soul is nourished by the promises made by Jesus. John’s love for and dependence upon Jesus, causes him to believe all that He promises, and hope for all that He says. The Word of God is an anchor for John’s soul, and he trusts in this Word, rather than the counsel of others.

And John has learnt to turn the Valley of Baca into a place of springs, by praying at all times simple, faith-filled prayers.

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

As John lives each day devoted to prayers for himself and others, the God of peace guards his heart, and protects his mind from the worrying thoughts that would try to unravel his faith in God. And John continues to be thankful, for all the blessings that he is given, including the breath in his body to live another day. Ultimately, he knows in his heart that in the Valley of Baca, God is still good, he is still loved, and God will provide all his needs.

Philippians 4: 6-7  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Fear is replaced by faith. Weeping has turned to rejoicing. Grumbling gives way to gratitude. And each day John moves forward knowing that nothing will happen that God has not allowed and will not provide the strength to handle.

Perhaps, like my father, John, we are walking through our own Valley of Baca right now. Can we turn it around into a place of springs? Can we see our adversity as an opportunity to experience God’s faithfulness and power more fully? How else will we experience the grace of renewal, perseverance, endurance, faith and maturity without the darkness of suffering – the Valley of Baca?

Like John, can we give thanks even in these times and discover that in the emptiness of pain there is fullness of joy? Let’s ensure that we are led closer to, not further from, God as we pass through this valley. God promises to draw closer to guide and provide as we press in and draw closer to Him.

“Father, help me to stay close to You and go from strength to strength as I pass through this valley of weeping. May Your good Spirit be my comforter and provider as I trust in You. Amen.”

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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  1. Jennifer,

    Such a vitally important message, and what a testimony to the LORD about your loving dad.
    He sounds like an amazing soul with such a strong faith, which no doubt accounts for his demeanor, and overall thought process concerning life and the moments we are given.

    Thank you for sharing this touching and beautiful story with us. May the LORD keep guiding your dad, and your family with His light and love.

    Blessings to you~

  2. Your father has faced many a challenge,
    But in Christ, He creates a balance.
    That someday these things will be left behind,
    That hurts our body and our mind .
    For when we see Him in His glory,
    We will begin a brand new story.
    Because in Him we put our hope and trust,
    And gain a brand new body that pain and suffering cannot touch.

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