Monday, September 19, 2011

From Strength to Strength

One of my favorite childhood journeys was when my family hopped into the station wagon and headed to California.  Remember I told you of the side trips we have taken on our many journeys…well this one did not disappoint.  Our route from Arkansas to California was via Seattle Washington.  Yeah we were all about how the crow flies…NOT!  In Washington we met up with my Uncle and his family to caravan in his Winnebago and our car down the coastline to our destination. 

Picture if you will 9 people eating, sleeping and doing life as we swayed in a top heavy motorized room down the mountains stopping only to pick up supplies, seeing sights and pull into RV parks for the night.  Have you traveled in an RV?  With 9 people (2 grown men, 2 women, 2 TEENAGE boys, and 3 girls?) Let’s just say we entered into a “Valley of Weeping”.  In other words it got a little rank in there.

As we followed the twist and turns that where highlighted on the map, we came to a river where my Uncle immediately pulled that rolling hotel room to the side of the road.  It was announced that EVERYONE was to get on a swimsuit, grab a bar of soap and bottle of shampoo and bathe in the river. 
The declaration ended with “NO EXCEPTIONS and you are not getting back in until you do.” That water was ice cold but to be clean again was so refreshing.

I am not trying to make light of anyone’s “valley of weeping” please don’t read that in to this.
It is just our valleys can at times get “rank” but the psalmist knew that when we go through this valley we will not stay there.  Look at the verses again.

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
It will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
They will continue to grow stronger,
And each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
Oh LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer.
Listen, O God of Jacob.
Psalm 84:5-8

What did he mean, “It will become a place of refreshing springs?”

Those who’s heart walks with God for very long know that these valley’s will come and although they don’t know the length of the valley they do know that they will not stay in this place forever.  As we travel God sends His blessings if we do not lose heart.  When you come out of the valley, if you take time to look back over the time there and you will be able see the refreshment God sent to get you through.

Some versions Psalm 84:7 reads, ”They travel from strength to strength.”
My thoughts go to one that is in physical therapy.  With each step they get stronger and stronger.  I see this as the same with the one on pilgrimage to God.  As we walk through the valley of weeping the refreshing springs give us the stamina to step towards God.  We travel from one refreshing pool to the next and as we do we gain strength with each placement of the foot.

Are you taking steps (even if it is small steps) each day toward God and out of the valley?

Have you emerged from the valley and can now look back and see the refreshing springs that you traveled through?

Keep pressing on until it becomes a place of strength!

Stepping out of the shadows,


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