As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs: the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength each one appears before God in Zion.” Psalm 84:6-7
I love to run. Maybe it’s more accurate to write that I love how I feel when I run. I love how running clears my mind and quiets my soul. I register for races because I need motivation. Then, I question my sanity. Why did I register? Why did I join with a friend? Now, I can’t back out. Then, I remember my goal. The discomfort of training is worth the glory of finishing with a strong body and mind.
Race day dawns with excitement. The crowd cheers, the gun explodes, and thousands of feet hit the pavement. Soon that fades, and I’m left in the race just putting one foot in front of the other. I am tempted to quit, but my friend encourages me. She wants to stop, so I support her. Every stride brings us closer to the finish. Our strength and determination increase as we overcome difficulty and exhaustion. Mental fatigue lessens. Soon, cheering people line the streets again. The prize is in sight.
Note the pronouns in Psalm 84: 6-7. They go through the valley… they make it a place of springs… they go from strength to strength. THEY. Plural. In the utter exhaustion of ministry, when logic dictates we should quit, when it makes no sense to get back up and keep putting one foot in front of the other, God designed us to draw strength from one another. I stumble, and you steady my feet. The weak collapse, so the strong carry them. When despair hits hard, we collectively worship our way through the Valley of Baca. Our eyes fix on the finish: standing before the Lord.
Barnes Notes on the Bible calls Psalm 84:
…a beautiful illustration of the life of Christian pilgrims – of the bands of the redeemed – as they journey on toward the end of their course. By prayer and praise and mutual counsel, by their songs, by the fact that difficulties are surmounted, leaving fewer to be overcome, and that the journey to be traveled is diminishing constantly – by the feeling that they are ever drawing nearer to the Zion of their home, they increase in strength, they become more confirmed in their purposes, they bear trials better, they overcome difficulties more easily, they walk more firmly, they tread their way more cheerfully and triumphantly.
Barnes notes on the Bible
Community is a gift. You do not have to endure your valleys alone, yet too often ministry leaders and wives believe the lie that we do. I urge you to find your people. Find the community—online or in person—that will remind you the joy and pleasure found in God’s presence far exceeds troublesome ministry valleys. God’s presence is worth it.