“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” Psalm 84:5-7
To find our strength in God is an amazing spiritual reality that most of us find very difficult to practice on a continual basis. Especially when we face serious issues such as 4th stage cancer, no income for monthly bills, unpredictable/expensive legal battles, family members who have rejected God and/or us, or the arduous task of making it one more day when we are beyond our limits – places that could be our Valley of Baka, dry and desolate. How wonderful it would be to see that land change before our eyes!
The interesting thing is that when we are struggling mightily just to focus on the next step, God often gets pushed aside, and becomes very small compared to the looming circumstance. We haven’t rejected Him; we’ve sidelined Him, as we don’t see Him jumping into the fray with us. So, we feel the weight of the circumstance pounding us into the ground.
Contrast that with those we consider true friends – people that are there for us, no matter what. They have this special position in our lives because over time they have proven their love and loyalty in difficult situations. We know these friends intimately, and are likewise known by them. In fact, the relationship is so close, they are the first people we call when our lives go awry. And they come when we call.
Here is the telling question: is our relationship with God so intimate that He would be the first One we call? Have we invested in the relationship by spending time with Him to get to know Him? If He is not the Chief of First Responders in our lives, could it be that we don’t know Him well enough to trust Him?
There is no time like the present to change that. He is waiting quietly for us to come to Him, rather than forcing Himself on us. As we begin to grasp the nature of this unconditional love – in operation 100% of the time — our trust in Him automatically grows. His unconditional love allows us to be who we are in His Presence, without need for posturing or pretense. In this place, it is safe to share all the concerns of our hearts, no matter how troubled, base, weak, or prideful. In fact, the most powerful thing we can do is admit we don’t know what to do, and are powerless to change ourselves and our circumstances. Paul put it this way: “But [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9) What freedom and assurance He brings in our ineptness! It is no longer about us and our problems – it is about the God Who holds the whole world in His hands – the only true Problem Solver, working 24/7 on behalf of His friends.