“What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
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.”
It isn’t IF we walk through a valley, it’s WHEN we do. And right now I am.
I’m learning there are very few people who will walk through a dark time with you. Very few. It is then when you realize who your people are.
But when we truly do walk through valleys of weeping, only the most altruistic, selfless, and gracious of our friends can survive with us.
These friends don’t get sick of your Voxer messages. They don’t get sick of your crazy texts first thing in the morning or late at night. They keep pace with you and they continue with you even when it’s really, really dark.
They say things to you like . . .
You are strong.
I’m holding up your arms.
This won’t be forever.
God sees you.
They bring you things like frozen yogurt and Psalm 84 and send you YouTube videos.
In all honesty, I can’t even carry my own load right now. It is far too heavy and I’m far too weary.
I’m rushing upstream like a salmon trying to jump a waterfall.
I have a few women who are quite literally holding up my arms, and there are no thank-yous that are sufficient for these girls. It’s all in the economy of grace. They are accompanying me through this valley of weeping and they are bringing me to Jesus. They understand the desert and they are present when I’m exhausted.
But if we believe the psalmist, we must hold on for just a little while longer, and then it will become a place of refreshing springs. A place of early rain.
“When they walk through the Valley of Weeping it will become a place of refreshing springs; the autumn rain will clothe it with blessings.”
Do you believe it? Do I even believe it? I must. I don’t have a choice.
It’s not just the psalmist who talks about this valley. This desert-valley where one can’t even have a simple drink of water is talked about in Hosea too. God says He will transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope to Israel after He has restored her.
Trouble into hope? Weeping into refreshing springs and rain in the desert?
When I’m in the valley, it doesn’t even seem possible. Everything is dry and everything is trouble, and it doesn’t even seem like the promise that it is.
From prison Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
“Blessing means to lay the hand up on the shoulder and say, ‘Despite everything, you belong to God.’ That is how we deal with the world that inflicts so much suffering upon us. We don’t give it up, reject it, or despise it; we do not damn it; we call it to God; we give it hope; we lay our hand upon it and say, ‘May God’s blessings come upon you, He will renew you, blessings on you, you were created by God, to whom you belong, for He is your Creator and Redeemer.’”
What he’s suggesting is that we don’t reject suffering like we want to so desperately, but that we bless it. And to those who are suffering we say, “You are His.” We say, “He sees.” We lay our hands upon the suffering and say, “I understand. But God will restore you.”
Oh, friends, we need the hope of the early rain! We need friends who will hold up our arms, but in a sense, we might also need suffering. Each minute of it produces a tiny bit of glory and each minute means that maybe we understand Jesus just a little bit more. I believe that He does hold our tears in a bottle somewhere, and if He’s saving them, it means they are not wasted.
It means there is a purpose.
It also means that on the other side of valleys of weeping there are doors of hope and pools full of clear water. It means that He is there, with us, through all of it.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
It is so painful to be in the crucible of suffering…there really is no other way to describe it. Scriptures come to mind about weeping lasting for the night, but joy will come in the morning and God not letting the rising waters sweep over you, but I know those are hard to grasp when it just plain hurts. I am praying for you and lifting you up right now for strength, peace, and blessings born of your suffering. When I really hurt, I imagine or picture myself as the tiny lamb being lovingly held in the strong and caring arms of my Savior. He carries you close to His heart and will draw you closer to Himself through this time you are persevering through. That is the blessing of suffering…thank you for sharing from the heart.
rachel blazer says
thank you for this… in the midst of the pain & sadness, i read these scriptures and just beg God to make them true in me. i will beg Him for you, too… He is there.
Persida Montanez says
Very blessed by reading this post. Thank you for sharing Sarah.
Valerie Sisco says
How I love these words of yours today that bring hope to my heart! Thank you for sharing these with us who are walking through hopeless days, believing that the spring rains will come and refresh our weary souls! Yes, there is a purpose for all we go through. Beautiful!
Jenny Herndon says
Oh how I needed this today. Thank you! My husband and I are walking through our own valley of weeping right now (ongoing custody battles with his ex; grieving a miscarriage from a year ago, but feels like it was just yesterday; not being able to see my step-kids as much; constant drama and strife being stirred up by the enemy)…. and how I needed this reminder that God is faithful, that He sees all this struggle and He is sure to answer. I am thankful for a handful of girl friends whom God put in my life at just the right time to be able to walk with me through this valley. There have been moments where they have held up my arms too, and it is in those moments, those darkest moments, when God has shown Himself the most. Prayers being lifted for you during this time in the valley; I am sorry you are having to go through it, but you have brought hope to this mamma’s heart through your words.
Sarah, I understand. I appreciate your words, they bring such peace. Prayers for you during this difficult time. Xox
Sarah, what a beautiful, hope-filled post. The Lord gave me this passage a number of years ago when I was facing surgery for possible cancer (it wasn’t, by the way). He reminded me that He bring us THROUGH suffering. Sometimes the “through” is to heaven with Him. Other times, it’s to the other side of that season. But He makes springs in those valleys. And that gave me such hope. Thank goodness He walks with us through the suffering!
I so appreciate your perspective on this passage. It spoke deeply to my heart.
Sarah, I have no idea what your valley of trouble is but I do know this – God really will bring you through it to the other side through the gateway of HOPE. My daughter’s fiancé was murdered in July 2002 and walking through that with her was the most agonizing journey of my life. Even more painful than my husband walking out on me and my three small children in 1978. My daughter, my heart was broken and dying. I cried out to God over and over. I prayed. I believed. Then the Lord gave us a good gift – a 10-lb baby boy and my well began to fill up once again. Then, same daughter (mom of baby), still mourning her love became heavily addicted to painkillers – this went on for years. There were days I could barely breathe. Mornings when I didn’t want to crawl out of bed. I was undone. Then suddenly (HE ALWAYS COMES IN THE SUDDENLY) everything turned around. My daughter gave her life to Christ and Hope arose out of the ashes. Sarah, hold on. Let your friends help you fight this battle – but today I want to encourage you – Joy really does come in the morning and the weeping only lasts a season. I love you in Christ and my prayers are lifted for you today. You are more than welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org xo
Randy Haylett says
Just keep hanging on!
Susan G. says
Thank you. I’m saving this verse – so powerful!
It is only by God’s strength that someone walking through the ‘valley of weeping’ can still encourage others…keep walking…
Praying God will comfort you and continue to be your strength.
As I walk through my darkness, it’s very hard to see the possibility of things being restored. But It is sisters like all of you that are willing to expose themselves and their suffering, that helps me to keep believing. Your sharing helps me to cling even tighter to the word. Your honesty helps me to know I’m not alone. Your stories help to encourage me and I learn that I am not the only one in the valley of darkness. Oh how we need one another. How We need others to hold up our arms when we can’t do it ourselves. I am praying for all of you. Please pray that God will send me a Christian friend who I can partner with in life’s battles.
Beth@He Knows says
I totally understand right now. After 8 years of teaching at my current position, I have been told that my teaching methods are “unacceptable.” I’m still reeling from that comment, considering I’m a single mother who helps her parents with their bills as well as rearing her own child. I’ve always claimed Romans 8:25-26 as my life verses: “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Yet, right now, I don’t feel any of it. The one thing that has helped me through this time is my stubborness and determination. My daughter and I just joined a wonderful (even though not perfect) church, and I’m still getting in the Word each morning. Even if I’m just going through the motions, some of it is still sticking with me.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though our circumstances may be different, the pain we feel may be identical. I’ll hold you in prayer, if you can hold me in prayer.
Mary Bonner says
The times of darkness are so incredibly painful…sometimes I did not want to get out of bed, much less function once I DID get up. Allow those close to you into your space – it sounds like you are – to help carry the load and lift you up. Then one day the clouds will part and a small glimmer of sunshine will appear. Whatever the struggle, you will be stronger on the other side. I continue praying for you and I wish I was close enough to help in person.
Praying for your pain to go away. I know how hard it is to be a teacher and how discouraging those words would be. You are right about the feeling of pain being the same for all of us. I’m praying that even if God doesn’t change our circumstances he will take the pain away. Praying the Holy Spirit will comfort the broken hearted.
Opps, My last post was responding to Beth@HeKnows.
I can honestly say that the times I have been in the Valley of Weeping have been the sweetest times of fellowship with God. Because those times when I felt there was no other hope, I realized there was nothing to cling to BUT God. Really, God is always there, and we should be clinging to Him and relying on Him all the time, but we don’t. Or maybe that’s just me. So while I have been blessed from what I’ve learned in those valleys…I’m sad to say that I don’t welcome it like maybe I should. But, there IS purpose in suffering…and that gives me HOPE. Thank you so much for sharing this post!
Nancy Ruegg says
Sarah, I admire and appreciate your honesty about the Valley of Weeping in which you find yourself. A few years ago I traversed just such a valley with no end in sight. But every hope-filled statement you made in this post DID come to pass in God’s good timing. So hang on to hope–it is NOT misplaced! And hang on to those supporting arms of family and friends. You are blessing THEM by allowing them to bless YOU!
Thank you for this post. I am in one of those dark, dry valley where I know a change is coming but the waiting feels like I am drowning on dry land. I too will look for that light and that latter rain of refreshing to fall in my life. I know God is in control and I need to continue to lean and trust in him.
Beth Williams says
Prayers for you and your family during this trial! May God bring healing or restoration to you. Prayers for peace and contentment during this time. Prayers for strong women friends to come along side and hold you up!
God never said we would have a rosy life down here! Suffering can and is painful. It can be super hard to find people to walk through valleys with you. Once on the other side of the valley–oh what a testimony one will have.
I have been going through a valley myself for a while now. We moved my aging dad into assisted living last year. He had multiple medical issues-including some psych. My hubby and I had work stresses. We still do–not sure if either one will lose our jobs or not. It is tough. Praise God for covenant friends who walk through this valley with me. They pray for me, call/text me. I can lament to them and they understand. I am blessed!
kathleen Van tries says
To all of you my Christian family I pray universally with you all. The valley is an obstacle course. God equips us for it all. I have got through yearly anemia blood transfusions hip replacement atrial fibula ti on heart surgery. I have panicked sometimes for every health situation only to call upon jesus who has brought me through it all. Trust. Trust trust. God bless you all in the obstacles God has provided as blessings for us to come closer. The great physician came not for the healed but for the weary and sick. Love to you all take his hand and keep moving. Kathy
Diane Jones says
It is remarkable and an amazing gift that you are able to share these words of hope while you’re still in the dark valley.
As someone who’s lived long enough to survive too many trips through the valley of weeping, including a perfect pregnancy that ended in a stillborn perfect-looking child, several times teetering on business or personal bankruptcy, illness, broken relationships, etc., I want you to know that there will be a new dawning. Hold on to the God Who is faithful, Whose Son will walk with you and redeem you, and Whose Spirit will abide in you as long as you continue to welcome Him in. As one friend told me, when it’s too dark in the valley, “believe what you believed when you knew what you believed”. And hymns helped me, like “Trust & Obey”, even when you’re not sure which way is up. I can’t count how many 100 times I sang “One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus” loudly, desperately, in my car, but I know He rode with me and carried me through each crisis. And another friend recorded “For Those Tears He Died” for me. So, yes, He is there, with you, through it all, understanding, and you will find refreshing springs, blessings, and strength. His Word guarantees it.
Becky Keife says
Continuing to pray for you.
Yes, nothing is wasted. We must cling to that hope. That truth. Even when we cannot see the purpose or the end.
But God knows. And He sees.
Praise Him for those arm-lifting, burden-carrying, soul sister friends. His beautiful grace in the midst of ugly sorrow.
Thank you for sharing your heart in the midst of it.