Finding Joy In The Valley Of Weeping

March 6, 2015
by Elaine Ingalls Hogg

Psalm 84:5-6 – 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. (NLT)

Due to caring for elderly parents and dealing with family health issues, some days have felt especially dark and heavy, and I haven't been writing lately. But recently, today's verses challenged me to look for joy in the Valley of Weeping.

A few weeks ago, my 95-year-old father embarked on what will probably be the last phase of his life's journey. He fell in his home and had to be admitted to hospital. After his recovery from the effects of the fall, it was decided that he wasn't strong enough to return home. In early February, we moved him to a nursing home.

Throughout his life, my dad has faithfully trusted God to provide for his family. When he broke his leg and had to move to a different town in order to find work, he trusted God to meet his needs. He trusted God to take care of his children during their illnesses and to take care of the bills when jobs were scarce and the cupboard was bare. Every morning from the day I was born until his recent illness, my dad has prayed for me and my three brothers by name.

Now when I visit him, he lovingly speaks the names of my brothers and other family members and finishes each visit with the whispered words, "Remember, I love you." Some days he tells me that he is thinking of some of his loved ones who have died, and on other days when he isn't too weak or tired, I have heard him sing a few words from his favourite hymns. One day recently, he sang a few lines from the hymn, What a friend we have in Jesus, by Joseph Scriven.

    Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged:
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Though his mind is clouded when it comes to naming the days of the week, it is crystal clear when he speaks of the comfort that he has found in having a personal relationship with God and knowing that his final destination is in heaven.

Yes, at times, we may shed a quiet tear as we witness the changes in the minds and bodies of those we love. But we don't need to stay sad. Instead, the psalmist invites us to draw comfort on those dark days as we picture God receiving our loved one in heaven, and saying, "Well done, good and trustworthy servant! Since you've been trustworthy with a small amount, I'll put you in charge of a large amount. Come and share your master's joy!" (Matthew 25:23 ISV)

Prayer: Dear God, today when we see the changes in our health or that of our loved ones, we may shed some tears. But help us to draw comfort from our faith in You, knowing that You know the path and You will be our companion and guide through this Valley of Weeping. Amen.

About the author:

Elaine Ingalls Hogg <authorhogg@yahoo.ca>
Smiths Creek, New Brunswick, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good words Elaine.


    Perfectly lovely.


    Lovely devotional Elaine. Thanks for sharing.


    I especially was touched by your devotional today. Thank you.


    Dear Elaine:
    God bless you and your entire family. What a friend we have in Jesus, indeed.


    Thank you so much for this devotional. As I prepare to celebrate the life of my brother, seeing this today lets me know that God truly hears and answers prayer. Thank you again.


    Great to see one from you Elaine!!!
    May God be with you every step of the way in sharing your dad’s journey. I’m sure a large majority of readers can well identify with your words today.


    Dear Elaine;
    I know exactly what you speak of. My writing has waned as well, due to family health issues and looking after my mother and husband.


    Thank you for thoughts of yesterday when we go through these dark times of loss and to remember our Lord God walks right along with us and sheds His wonderful light, energy and love.
    (ON)


    Elaine,
    Welcome back. You and your writing have been missed. Today you expressed so well the thoughts and prayers of all of us.
    (Texas)


    Amen Elaine. I have been where you are now and though it is hard day after day when it is over you are so glad that you were faithful in caring for those you loved. May God’s strength, joy and grace be your portion this day.
    Blessings


    Thank you for sharing your feelings in the midst of this time of life when we are buffeted between giving thanks for the life of a loved one, and wanting to resist the loss. My heart is going out to you and to any of your readers who are in much the same boat. May the Lord send His Spirit to surround you and fill you, and bring blessings to you and your loved ones as well as His Grace to all who are approaching the time of moving on, and those who are walking with the ones who are leaving this world. Such mixed feelings.


    Read your devotional today and felt I had to encourage you through your trials. God will strengthen you today and always. He is in control of ALL things. Praise Him always and always rely on Him for everything.
    Thanks for the reminder that even through trials He is in control and our rewards are in Heaven.


    Oh, Elaine, it is so good to hear from you again! I identified with your recollection of how your dad named you individually when praying for you — my dad used to do that too. His prayers must have been answered as you have displayed the precious love of Jesus in your writings. May God give you strength in the days ahead.


    Elaine
    Long time no hear and may I say — how good to see you up and writing on the Daily. Your message I know well in the Valley of Weeping! What a lovely way you have of addressing it, for God awaits for us all to walk the way through the that Valley. In a way it’s a hard time for us to let go but a glorious time to keep walking in that Valley! God bless.


    Thank you so much for this lovely devotional this morning. I am going through something similar with my husband right now. He has been diagnosed with dementia and only 72.
    I know God will walk with us both through this journey and I’m so thankful we have him in our lives.
    Thank you.


    Hello Elaine Ingalls Hogg,
    Thanks for taking the time and effort to write an inspiring devotional, it is so good to hear the history of a close walk with Jesus. The Bible is full of people who walked with Jesus even though they were not perfect they walked with Him daily as He took them through their daily trials and tribulations.
    May God bless you, strengthen you and continue to make you a blessing to those you share these devotional thought with.


    Elaine, upon my reading this morning’s Devotion I thought you were writing and directing the subject solely for the benefit of my wife and now particularly for me. During a hand-in-hand winter walk with my wife last year I tripped and injured my shoulder. Then recently I again tripped and fell, even wearing my protective winter duds, yet still was injured.
    Long time prayers on behalf of my Alzheimer-affected wife and now for my unsteady gait finally have added that hymn, What a Friend We have in Jesus just to supplement and strengthen my future pleas to Him. Again, Thank you, Elaine.


    So wonderful to find you “back” in our daily reading this morning – you and you’re devotionals have been missed in our house. Appreciate the subject matter as well and can surely relate to it when you speak of your aging dad. Both of my parents were a privilege in our lives until it was time to say, “see you later”. Hard to say goodbye but we all reach a time when it’s “OK”.
    Just wanted you to know that we were pleased to read your writing again and hopefully it will be a more-often-than-not blessing.
    Be well and continue to be a blessing,
    (NH USA)


    Dear Elaine,
    Thank you for your words in today’s devotional. I am grateful to the Lord that He uses you to convey his message of comfort and hope. I pray for you as you and your family go through the next phase with your Dad. From what you have written I can tell it will be difficult for you to see your Dad leave his earthly body but I can also tell you will be rejoicing along with the sadness. I loved that one of your dad’s favorite hymn’s is “What a Friend We Have In Jesus”. Such beautiful words to live by.
    Isn’t it wonderful that we have a loving heavenly Father who gathers our tears and holds us close when we go through the Valley of Weeping! May His perfect peace cover you and comfort you and give you joy.
    Wishing you blessings,


    Dear Elaine.
    Thank you for this devotional that touched my heart so much.
    I have a my beloved cousin in the last stages of Alzheimers and it is so heartbreaking for me as I sit beside her bed holding her hand, she can no longer speak or has any movement but every once and a while she gives a smile that blesses my soul.
    As sad as this situation is, God has taught me so much re love and compassion for all people
    May I just also mention her husband, a professional flute player devotes his time everyday in the facility she is in to playing beautiful music for all the patients and gives love and affection to them. He too has grown in so many ways.
    I praise God for His goodness and mercies that are new every morning.


    Thank you for writing your experiences. I know a little of what you are feeling. My 93 year old mother recently had aneurysms break in her brain with subsequent strokes. Miraculously she made it thru, but she could no longer live independently in her apartment. She has many disabilities, some physical have returned, but neurologically most have not and will not heal. With MUCH stress, we went thru the CCAC rules and regulations and got her into a good nursing home. Anyway…the saddest is she seems to have lost her faith. After many years of church attendance, women’s groups etc., she says she doesn’t think she believes in God. I am praying and hoping this is just a brain thing…but… Be thankful that your Dad is still singing!!


    Good Morning Elaine. Thank you for your wonderful words this morning. EXACTLY what I needed to hear this morning as well!! God is so good!
    I always marvel at how God’s timing is always so perfect. Really, your words this morning have already fuelled me for the day ahead. We have some elderly friends with whom we are quite involved and your words this morning have encouraged me. So thank you and may God continue to bless you as you share His love with others.
    And in addition, I have to say that we do love your folks from the Maritimes. You are special folks for sure.
    Anyhow keep on writing.


    Dear Elaine:
    A sad, but beautiful devotional.
    What a beautiful introduction to the life and testimony of your loving father. How blessed you were to have a Christian dad who possessed such fine qualities in his life and was always assuring you of how much he loved you. – The best gift any child could receive from a parent.
    The scripture you spoke about in your message: “Well done, good and trustworthy servant! Since you’ve been trustworthy with a small amount, I’ll put you in charge of a large amount. Come and share your master’s joy!” – will be the words your dear dad will hear his Heavenly Father say to him as he journeys from this world into a the much better home, Christ went to prepare for him. What a wonderful assurance for you.
    Thank you for reminding we who had such fine dad’s just how blessed we were. I too had a gem of a dad who loved the Lord, my mom, brother and I very much and prayed for us always.
    Blessings to you for a beautiful message.


    You are in my prayers. I have been there with both of my parents.


    Hi Elaine: I’ve just read your great Devotional and what a Blessing it was. I’m so glad you and I both have had a wonderful Christian Heritage.
    What a Blessing to have been brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Thank You” dear friend for your writing and may our great God continue to abundantly Bless your life and those you love!
    (N.B.)


    Thank you Elaine for your loving testimony.
    Know your words bless all in heaven as well as those on earth.
    May your dear dad and yourself continue to be held closely by the silken cords of Holy Love. as you both are filled with the peace and joy of the Lord.
    Many Blessings.

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