“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).
“I need a volunteer.”
If you’re in a comedian’s audience, you look down, thinking, If I can’t see him, he won’t see me.
If you’re a seven-year old, your hand rockets in the air , waving like the wings of a hummingbird, believing the fastest waver will get selected.
Young children want to be picked before knowing what’s expected. Adults know better. Experience has taught us to first find out what we’ll be signing up to do.
The response to gifts also differs according to age.
“In this bag I have gifts for you,” I’d tell my second graders. Before seeing the secret treasures, their faces would light up. They’d spontaneously let out a collective, “Thank you!”
Not grown-ups. We give a polite smile before opening a gift. Upon opening it, we sometimes wonder, What was she thinking?” Still, we respond with a forced, “Thank you.”
It’s possible to fool our friends. Not so easy to fool God. Sometimes God sends blessings our way disguised in illness. Our thoughts scream, What was He thinking?
When I was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), sorrow was my immediate reaction.
What are You thinking, Father? Don’t You know how much I love teaching? Don’t You know how much I like to be in control and how I dread being dependent on others?
I discovered that getting from sorrow to blessings is a process. Psalms 84 describes it as going ‘from strength to strength.’ With a stopover in the Valley of Baka–the valley of weeping.
God gently taught me that depending on Him would be a blessing. It provided more opportunities for me to experience His faithfulness and love.
We journey on a path closer to Him. Peering out into the horizon and straining our hearts to see Yahweh: the One who provides grace to transform sorrow into blessings.
Prayer: Dear Father, My heart is truly on a pilgrimage, yearning more and more for the day I’ll appear before You in glory. Until then, help me think of my life as a quest to find greater contentment in You. Open my mind to recognize the blessings You have for me in the midst of my illness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
About the Author:
Vicki understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 33-year-old son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She’s taught special education as a teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor. Through her blog, she reaches out to other mothers of children with mental illness. http://mentalillnessmom2mom.net/
Vicki wrote a picture book about bullying: Heart Eyes: Beth and the Bullies. You can find out more about that book by visiting her Heart Eyes website: www.hearteyes.net
Where are you in your journey? Struggling with sorrow in the Valley of Baka or basking in His blessings? Is it possible to be in both?
This is a song I post about every six months because it has become our kind of theme song here among chronically ill believers. This is Laura Story singing “Blessings.” If you have heard it before, I hope it is a comfort today. If it doesn’t sound familiar, may God use it to speak to you in a fresh way! -Lisa