In February of 1995, my wife and I were in the coffeeshop business. It had been a rough transition for the both of us, being recently married and just having moved into our new house. It is a story in itself of how we acquired the coffeeshop, and how we envisioned it as a soul-saving shop for Jesus. Well, as it turned out, unequipped and untrained for this kind of venture, we landed on troubled times. We grew apart and our marriage was on the rocks. Unwilling to keep the commitment, we separated and I kept the coffeeshop going.
So there I was, supposedly running a Christian coffee house with an eminent divorce looming over me. Neither my wife or I was nice to the other, and we were no example of the love we professed Christ to have. The house that we had purchased, we were forced to sell back to the realtor and eventually I closed the coffeeshop. During that time, I had two of my best friends die of drug related misuse, my step-mother and my remaining grandfather died. Shortly thereafter, I totaled my car, almost killing two people in the process. Let me tell you the truth… I was in the valley of darkness.
In the book of the Psalms, Chapter eighty four, Verses five thru seven; the sons of Korah write about being in the valley. “Blessed is he whose strength is in (The Lord), whose heart is set upon the pilgrimage. As they pass through the valley of Baca, they make it a spring… They go from strength to strength until each one appears before God in Zion.”
“Baca” in Hebrew means brokenness, or in other words the lowest time in their life. The lowest of the low. The uttermost. I was defiantly there in that time in my life. I had come into the valley of weeping. I had made it a spring with my tears. My valley was my life. It was all that I knew. I knew nothing else but pain at that time in my journey. I thought I would stay at that point for the rest of my life. I didn’t see the way out of the valley. I figured that I was stuck there. However…
Oh how I love “howevers”!
However, my heart was set on the pilgrimage. My strength was in Him. I honestly can say that I did not have any surplus of strength to divvy out to any of my friends, but I did have my strength in Christ. All I had was in him. There was only one bright speck on my horizon, and that was Jesus Christ himself.
Have you ever heard Church people talk about going on from glory to glory? Have you ever seen in your life where you are going from strength to strength? To find out if this is real strength and real glory, you should be looking for the valleys. Oh it is hard to be going through those valleys, but remember what it was like before the valley. It will be good again after this valley. Is there a low point before the high point? There has to be… We go from strength to strength until we all appear before God in Zion.
Life will always have its ups. When my wife and I first started the coffeeshop we had so much fun, there was excitement and the thrill was in the air. It was great! But life also has its valleys. My dearest reader, you would do well to remember that in each valley, Christ is there. Or have you forgotten Davids twenty third Psalm? It goes something like this:
“Even though I walk thru the valley of the fear of death, I won’t be afraid, because you are with me! You are with me in my pain. You make me lie down and enjoy your presence. You fulfill me even in my pain. Surely goodness and mercy will relentlessly pursue me every day of my life and I will live in your house forever, Oh Lord.”
Wow. What a promise. To have God be at the end of the quest. To know that no matter what baptism of pain you may be going through, He is there. Waiting, waiting, waiting… until… ZAP! Mercy comes in and floods your soul, and there is is the light at the end of the tunnel. Your ship comes in. Your life has meaning.
ZAP! Glory to glory!
ZAP! Goodness and mercy!
ZAP! Appearing before God in Zion!
ZAP! Dwelling in the house of the Lord forever!
Copyright 2003 by pauly hart