Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they set their hearts on pilgrimage,
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a place of springs;
The autumn rains also cover it with pools. Psalm 84:5-6
Every pilgrimage starts with a promise and ends with a provision. But so often between the promise and the provision is the valley of tears.The Old Testament declares a season for weeping as well as rejoicing. There is nothing unspiritual about having tears in our eyes as we go through a tough time. The promise of the Psalmist is that God will see us through the valley- turning our tears into springs of joy and pools of delight.
As I have looked back at my childhood I see glimpses of joy amongst the sorrow. Joy and delight even in the valleys. Although I felt abandoned by my earthly father I was never abandoned by my Heavenly Father. And even in the valley, the dark places, God showered me with good things.
Although I was being raised by my aunt and uncle, my mom’s mother, my grandmother always sent me gifts. She lived in England and for Christmas and Birthdays she always sent me gifts. As did my sister, brother and dad from time to time.
As always I had the most gifts under the Christmas tree, much to the annoyance of my cousins. But I delighted in these gifts. I loved gifts. These were from my family, and not for my cousins, they were for me only. I would sit and look under the tree at all my gifts…..I felt so special. I would tremble with delight anticipating Christmas morning when I could open them.
And the fact that they were from England added to the excitement. I wish I could tell you what some of the gifts were but I don’t remember.
But what I do remember are the feelings of love and of being special. These were exclusively for me.
And after all the gifts were opened I carefully laid each gift out on my bed, admiring each one, appreciating each one…..and the meaning behind the gifts was that I wasn’t forgotten, someone remembered me, thought of me, loved me.
And to the credit of my aunt and uncle they seemed to understand the importance of these gifts, never resenting or begrudging them or withholding them from me. They didn’t take away the joy that was mine.
Maybe that’s why today one of my love languages is time….I love gifts and cards, but the fact that someone took the “time” to shop for me, to think of me blesses me so much and brings me enjoyment and delight.
Looking back its as if God took my small face in His hands, lifted my head, looked in my eyes and in these gifts told me He had not forgotten or abandoned me….He delights in giving us gifts.
I believe thats why it was so easy for me to accept the ultimate gift….Jesus. To realize that God made the ultimate and costliest sacrifice, providing His Son as the ransom for my soul. How it must have torn at the heart of God to sacrifice His only Son.
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4: 9-11
This is love…..Jesus is the ultimate gift….just for me….just for you. He lifts your head, looks into your eyes and tells you how much He loves you, He has good gifts for you…we simply have to open our hearts and recieve them.