Long Enough Have You Sat in The Valley of Tears
By Ray Haynes
Have you ever felt like your name was changed to “tired”, but no one bothered to tell you? We learn to run on fumes and still push through even when we feel overwhelmed because we feel like we don’t have any other choice. When rest becomes “a concept”, but not a reality, brain fog replaces focus, a short fuse steals our intensity, and exhaustion dries up our wells, God is still near, and He is trying to pull us closer into His embrace.
I love the beauty and promise of Psalm 84:5-7 “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka (weeping), 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.”
I don’t remember any valley in my life that brought tears which God didn’t eventually add some rain to and make a river to refresh someone else. Sometimes it took a while, but the rain always came, and the blessing followed. My strength renews someone else, and someone else’s tear-filled journey renews my strength. Valleys aren’t always filled with pleasure, but giants have been known to fall down dead in them. But in order “to pass through” our hearts must be set on pilgrimage. That’s the missing puzzle piece. We all spend time in the Valley of Baka; but it’s a terrible place to buy property.
“Bakah” means “to weep or mourn in grief, humiliation, or joy.” Think about that a moment. What part of that valley are you passing through? Valley is also the word “vale”, which is often compared to a similar word “veil”, though they are quite different. Vales are the lowlands where battles are fought, while veils are meant for more celebration-filled wedding days. The tops of mountains aren’t anything like the vales below; and wedding veils are not meant to become veils of tears. But sadly, sometimes they do.
Last week I taught about the 9th of Av, when historically, bad things happened to Israel; last weekend the people of Israel began their Sabbath with a hardboiled egg dipped in ashes. Their mourning is the result of a lot of bad choices, including totally missing their Messiah when He came to marry them, and so for many of them, their veil has truly become a veil of tears.
This weekend the Sabbath of Comfort arrives; it’s a marriage holiday and one of the happiest days on the Jewish calendar. It marks the day the last Israelite of the old generation died in the wilderness – which also meant death was behind them and a new day with promise had arrived.
One significant thing separated the two generations. The people that God brought out of Egypt were faint of heart. They were free from their place of bondage, but their hearts were still slaves to fear. They could never let the Lion (Yeshua Jesus) rise up inside of them so that they could surge ahead.
Those in the next generation spent forty years watching them die and then burying them; that developed in them hearts that could hope. When God told them to enter their rest, they obeyed, and didn’t get overwhelmed when giants tried to block their path. And so, their rest eventually arrived.
They were strong and fierce when faced with overwhelming adversity; they were rightly called courageous and champions. With God leading the way, they conquered the “land of giants”, because they didn’t shrink from the challenge. Hopefully, you haven’t lost forty years from fear, or have days marked on your calendar to taste ashes of grief. Jesus is our Promised Land, and He is available every day to those “whose hearts are set on pilgrimage”.
Song of Songs chapter 7 is the inspiration for Lekha Dodi (Come My Beloved), a song that many Jews sing to welcome each Sabbath. Some of the words include, “I belong to my Beloved, and His desire is for me. Come my Beloved to greet the bride, to welcome the presence of Shabbat. Arise! Leave from the midst of the turmoil; long enough have you sat in the valley of tears. He will take great pity upon you. Shake yourself free, rise from the dust, dress in your garments of splendor…”
You belong to God and His desire is for you! And did you notice that the Sabbath (a time of rest), is compared to the bride (the church – and specifically you). He is waiting to give you rest; a rest that refreshes us, just like communion sets our thoughts on Jesus. It’s hard to learn to stop “trying to solve our problems”, and instead to rest in Him – but it really is the solution. Praying and resting are a lot like breathing – the more “you” try to do it, the harder it is to do.
Hosea 2:14-16 tells us, “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor [trouble] a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. “In that day,” declares Yehovah, “you will call Me ‘My Husband’; you will no longer call me ‘My Master.’” No matter what condition your world is in, remind yourself today, and each day, that God is present there with you to restore you.
Long Enough Have You Sat in The Valley of Tears. God is planting a vineyard in you; and He is opening a door for you to see Him rightly through your veil of tears. Shake yourself free, rise from the dust, dress in your garments of splendor. (Your wedding clothes.) Leave from the midst of the turmoil. The Sabbath is your wedding day over and over again. Start a new habit. Rest in Him. It really is time.