A Word For Today | Psalm 84:6
In our evening worship service last Sunday, we sang Psalm 84 as our hymn of preparation. This reminded me of the beloved statement of Psalm 84:6: “As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs.” Baca means “weeping,” so perhaps David refers to a place along the road that was particularly difficult or where something grievous had happened. Christians will pass through the vale of tears and endure hard times that try our faith. But notice that David says that when believers come with a pilgrim heart, “they make it a place of springs.” It is the pilgrims who cause this transformation from sorrow into blessing through the strength they receive from God. “They make it a place of springs” points to the redemptive influence Christians bring to the sorrows of this world because of our saving relationship with God.
Elizabeth Prentiss was a woman who experienced this redemptive transformation in sorrow. Through her many trials, she became especially sensitive to the needs of others who were suffering. In light of her ill health, chronic insomnia, and the death of a child, her husband wrote, “Her faith never failed; she glorified God in the midst of it all; she thanked her Lord and Master for ‘taking her in hand’. . . What is especially noteworthy, her own suffering, instead of paralyzing. . . active sympathy with the sorrows and trials of others, had just the contrary effect.” Out of her tears came springs of mercy for others. To another woman who lost a child, Prentiss wrote, “My dear friend, don’t let this great tragedy of sorrow fail to do everything for you. . . . The intent of sorrow is to toss us on to God’s promises.”
“Blessed are those… in whose heart are the highways to Zion,” says the psalm. “As they go through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs.” This does not trivialize our trials and sorrows. Rather, it tells why we must approach the whole of this life as those passing through on the way to heaven. It is not those who trudge along miserably who are blessed, but those who have the pilgrim spirit, who have the highway not merely under their feet but in their heart, whose passion is to press forward in the knowledge of God, to gain more and greater possession of heavenly things, and to draw nearer to a vision of God’s shining city. It is this desire for God that transforms sorrows into blessing, because in our sorrows God makes wonderful his love. May each of us have this influence during our current hardship, and may God’s grace in our lives provide a spring of blessing to many others.
In Christ’s Love,
 Susan Hunt, The True Woman (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 1997), 92-93.