"May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy." Psalms 126:5 NRSV
None of us enjoy going through the valleys of life. In those times, it seems as if it will never end. Looking on either side of what appears to be an endless narrow winding road, all we see are mountains. The long shadows are falling across our paths, obscuring clarity. Tempted to despair, we plod on putting one foot in front of the other. Looking up in the distance, we see a slight ascent in the road and the barest glimmer of light. As we continue to press forward, rising with each step, the shadows begin to fade, and we see the sun emerge in its fullness.
Every person that has ever lived has experienced times in the valley. Times when it seems our tears will never stop. Psalm 126 expresses a time in Israel's history when it appeared as if all hope were lost. The people returning from exile shout and sing with joy as they see their homeland, rising above the valley, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced. (v. 3)" Their time of sorrow now passed, tears replaced by joy, they emerged victoriously.
Whatever valleys we are going through today, we are not alone. God is with us and will deliver us, "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me." (Ps. 23:4) Be comforted, there is an end, and you will emerge with shouts of joy with God at your side.
God our Deliverer, we give you thanks for walking with us through the valleys of life. We begin to despair; we only need to remember you are with us to provide us with strength and encouragement. In you, we find the hope to press on with the confidence of victory with you. We pray for others right now who are going through their valleys that they may turn to you. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.