People Who Say Such Things: Learn to Embrace The Valley of Vision


February 21, 2020

Psalm 84:6-7 (NIV)

As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.


The valley of Baka is a place where physical terrain becomes spiritual geography. Historians believe it refers to an arid valley near Jerusalem where a certain kind of weeping tree (perhaps a balsam tree) grew. The word Baka means “to weep.”

No matter who you are, young or old, wealthy or poor, times of sadness are bound to come. They come with losses, disappointments, failures and sometimes even successes. Often they can protract themselves into seasons of depression. At times, a path of depression can lead a person off the pilgrim’s trail and into outright despair. If this describes you, you must reach out for help. 

The more one reads, hears and prays the Psalms the more they realize the Valley of Baka cannot be avoided. It must be experienced, engaged and passed through. We must not run from or try to escape our sorrows. Learning to welcome the emotion of sadness can be a difficult lesson for the soul, especially in a land where the core value is the “pursuit of happiness” (which meant something quite different to the ones who wrote those words than it does in the present day).

There is the sadness common to life and then there is the sorrow of God. Despite all the joy we perceive in him, Scripture refers to Jesus as “a man of constant sorrows.” Scripture also describes him as the pioneer pilgrim of faith. To follow him means at times we, too, will perhaps experience more sorrow and sadness than the average person. Jesus spent his life in the gap between the blessedness of God and the brokenness of the world. The more we truly enter into the brokenness of others, sharing their burden, the more we will take on and help carry their sorrow. In other words, the closer we grow to God the more God will entrust us to share in his sorrow for this broken world.

It is easy to be angry at the world. Angry prophets are a dime a dozen. It’s another thing altogether to allow our own brokenness to be transformed in the furnace of the valley for the sake of others. This is the essence of pilgrimage. Now watch what happens when this happens.

As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;

Wherever we embrace the brokenness of Jesus, first in our own valleys and then for the sake of others, the Father pours out the living water of the Spirit. The Valley of Weeping becomes a place of springs. There is a mysterious passage in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian Church that seems instructive. I have wrestled with it many times. 

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Corinthians 4:10-12

This is a text to sit down with, sink into and say, “Come Holy Spirit and instruct and interpret this text to me in my own life.” It is a pilgrimage text, and here’s the beautiful bonus of a heart set on pilgrimage:

7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

For the one whose heart is set on pilgrimage, the valley of Baka is the place of profound growth. The deeper the valley, the deeper the potential for transformation. We love the mountain tops, and indeed, the Lord meets us there, but he does his best work in us in the valley. Let’s give Paul the last word—again from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. 

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


For the prayer today I will share one of my favorite prayers. It is called The Valley of Vision and comes from a book by the same title. It is a collection of Puritan prayers. You can see the content here

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness, thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow, thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty thy glory in my valley.

Father, I want to be a person who says such things. Come Holy Spirit, and train me be such a person of faith. I pray in Jesus name, Amen. 


What has been your experience in the Valley of Baka (of weeping)? Are you struggling there now to find the place of springs? Are you feeling alone in it? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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