AlleyLast week, we read Psalm 84 in our Bible reading plan as a church. This psalm is a cry of longing to be in God's presence. In Old Testament times, God's presence was localised in the Temple at Jerusalem. Some Israelites only made a pilgrimage there once a year. You can imagine the joy and excitement that this would have evoked.

Today, since the work of Jesus Christ, we no longer need to take a pilgrimage to Jerusalem because we personally and collectively are the temple of the Holy Spirit. God chooses to live within us. What an amazing thing, that is so easy to take for granted. God is "Immanuel" = God with us! Of course, we still long for those special times when we are aware of his presence in powerful and personal ways. 

A few lines of this psalm jumped out at me as I was reading and reflecting:

Psalm 84:5-7. What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. NLT

Life is like a journey. Sometimes we are on the mountain top where everything is clear. We have perspective and the sun is shining down its warm rays upon us. At others times, it may feel like we are walking in a deep valley. We can't see much. It's dark and cold. Yet God is still there with us. Even during our times of "weeping" (the meaning of the Hebrew word Baca), where we may experience loss or grief, God promises to make an exchange. Our weeping can turn into a place of "refreshing springs." It can become a place of "blessing" and a catalyst for us "growing stronger."

For those who may feel like that's where they are today, I pray for God's amazing grace and strength to be yours in abundance. May God fulfil all of his promises towards you as you trust in his unfailing love and great faithfulness.

[Picture: Dark Valley Collage by Melanie Weidner]