Have you ever experienced a profound revelation while engaging in a spiritual practice? That's exactly what happened to me while practicing Lectio Divina, a contemplative approach to reading and meditating on Scripture.
Lectio Divina, meaning "divine reading" in Latin, is a contemplative practice rooted in early Christian monastic traditions. It involves a slow, prayerful reading of scripture, where you listen for a word or phrase to speak to your heart. It was during this practice that I was reading Psalm 84 when the first part of the phrase in verse 6 resonated so deeply within me, The King James version says, “who passing through the valley of Baca, make it a well.”
Today we are going to talk about the valley of Baca and how we can make it a well.
The Valley of Baca is also referred to as the Valley of Weeping by some scholars, it is a place that is only mentioned in Psalm 84:6. It is often understood by many scholars as a metaphorical place of weeping, struggle, hardship, or sorrow on the journey of faith. It symbolizes the challenging moments and seasons of life when we may feel spiritually dry, weary, or overwhelmed. And just as the psalmist expresses the longing for God's presence and favor even in the midst of this difficult valley so do we. We long for comfort, guidance, renewal, and strength.
Perhaps this is why the Holy Spirit illuminated this verse for me I’ve been traveling through the valley of Baca for about three years now, with health challenges, a family crisis, then I broke my femur, had to resign from my dream job and my mother-in-law passed away, it has indeed been a challenging season for me. And I discovered that as I entered into 2024 I was still stuck in the grief of it all.
So, what about you? What are the specific struggles, challenges, and hardships that make you feel as though you are in the Valley of Baca? Could it be:
1. The loss of a loved one: Grieving the death of a family member or friend can be a deep and painful experience, leading to a sense of spiritual dryness and sorrow.
2. Chronic illness or physical pain or an unexpected diagnosis: Living with ongoing health challenges can create a Valley of Baca experience, where one's faith is tested, and it may feel difficult to find solace or relief.
3. Financial struggles: Dealing with financial hardships, job loss, or overwhelming debt can bring about a Valley of Baca experience, causing stress, anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness.
4. Relationship difficulties: Strained relationships, conflicts, or brokenness within families or friendships can create a Valley of Baca, where one may feel distant from God and struggle to find reconciliation and healing.
5. Spiritual doubt or crisis: Going through a season of doubt, questioning one's faith, or experiencing a spiritual crisis can lead to a Valley of Baca, where one may feel disconnected from God's presence and guidance.
6. Loneliness or isolation: Feeling alone, socially isolated, or lacking meaningful connections can create a Valley of Baca experience, causing emotional pain and a longing for companionship and community.
7. Personal failure or disappointment: Experiencing setbacks, failures, or unmet expectations can lead to a Valley of Baca, where one may grapple with feelings of discouragement, shame, or inadequacy.
Take a moment to reflect on your Valley of Baca because we are going to explore how you can transform your valley of Baca into a well, a source of hope, encouragement, and spiritual nourishment a new beginning.
When we make our Valley of Baca a well, we are creating space within ourselves where we meet Jesus, receive His love, acceptance, healing, strength, refreshment, and peace and experience His life-giving presence. It becomes a place where our struggles are transformed into opportunities for growth, where our tears are turned into springs of hope, and where we find the strength to move forward with purpose and confidence no matter the situation. We are longing for a new beginning, and that could be a different situation or even a different perspective.
I want to note here that the phrase says, “who PASSING through the Valley of Baca”, I pray this encourages you as it did me because it means that the valley of Baca can be temporary if you keep moving forward, and to move forward you must make your valley of Baca a well.
One way that we make our valley of Baca a well is to see those everyday ordinary tasks as a time of refreshment. When we are in the Valley of baca sometimes everything becomes dreadful, we dread the dishes, we dread the laundry, we dread the drive to work, we dread, getting up, and getting dressed and so I want you to see these as ways that you are turning your valley of baca experience into a well. Instead of dreading those dishes use that time to meditate on a passage of scripture, when you are doing that laundry pray for your loved ones, when you are driving to work, listen to worship music, these are opportunities to invite and invoke the presence of God in your situation.
This reminded me of the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4. The Samaritan woman was having a valley of baca moment, she was burdened with her past and societal rejection, while she is carrying out her everyday, ordinary task by going to the well to draw water. Little did she know that she would meet Jesus, who offers her living water, a source of eternal life and fulfillment. She learned some lessons about herself and about Jesus while she was at the well. And this is what the valley of baca also has to offer us: lessons. Lessons about ourselves, lessons about our beliefs, lessons about Jesus.
The valley of Baca is an invitation to grow and to transcend what is limiting us whether it’s mentally, spiritually, and sometimes even physically.
When we are going thru our valley of baca experiences we need a well! We need an encounter with Jesus in the midst of our struggles and we need to allow His presence to bring healing, restoration, and refreshment into our lives. We need a well that provides life-giving water, we need a place where we can meet Him in our brokenness, where he can offer us love, comfort, acceptance, healing, and the satisfaction our souls thirst.
This Psalmist gives us hope in Psalm 84:6a because he lets us know that we don’t have to wait until we go toa well or FIND a well, he said, TURN YOUR VALLEY OF BACA into a WELL! Yep! Make IT A WELL!
Next, I’m going to give you very specific ways for how you can turn your valley of Baca into a a spring of hope
M - Meditate on God's Word
Scripture: "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." - Joshua 1:8
A - Ask for God's guidance
Scripture: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6
K - Keep a thankful heart
Scripture: "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thessalonians 5:18
E - Embrace God's love and grace
Scripture: "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." - Ephesians 2:4-5
I - Invest in relationships
Scripture: "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up." - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
T - Trust in God's plan
Scripture: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11
A - Act with integrity and kindness
Scripture: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." - Ephesians 4:29
W - Walk in obedience to God's commands
Scripture: "If you love me, keep my commands." - John 14:15
E - Engage in prayer and seek God's presence
Scripture: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7
L - Lean on God's strength and not your own
Scripture: "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:13
L- Live with Purpose
Scripture: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
So, as we journey through the Valley of Baca, let us remember that when we make it a well, we invite Jesus into our lives, allowing his life-giving presence to transform our struggles into blessings that form us into who we are created to be.
As we conclude, may we remember that even in our darkest moments, God’s presence is with us, offering comfort, guidance, and renewal. May we embrace the lessons learned from this valley allowing them to shape us into vessels of hope and compassion, ready to offer comfort to others who find themselves in their own valleys of sorrow. May we always be reminded that in the Valley of Baca, God’s presence is our greatest source of strength, and His love will guide us through every season of life.
So, if you are traversing, or passing through the Valley of Baca……….Make it a Well!
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