Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Walked this Lonesome Valley’

All New Things Begin in Darkness: Transitioning Through Your Dark Night–Personal Poetic Responses–Part 2

January 20, 2012

New life begins in darkness, as this germinating seed reveals.

What follows is an excerpt from the prophetic word entitled All New Things Begin in Darkness: Transitioning Through Your Dark Night posted as an e-letter by John Paul Jackson, interspersed with original poetry at strategic points, as I read the words of exhortation. This is Part 2 of a response to the message which will be posted over the next few days. Click here to view the message without the poetic inserts:

http://www.streamsministries.com/index.php?cat_id=32&page_id=141

January 20, 2012  Part 2

Three Levels of Darkness

From pregnancy to creation, from anointing to new days, everything begins in darkness. It has been that way from the first day of creation, and it will continue to the end.

New things begin in darkness. There are three levels, or deep times, of darkness that we encounter on the road to our destiny and true, pure spirituality: the Dark Night of the Wilderness or Desert, the Dark Night of the Soul and the Dark Night of the Spirit. With each one, you will feel like you are immersed in a deeper darkness than you have ever been in before.

This section brought to mind “This Lonesome Valley” a poem that speaks of a similar kind of wilderness experience.

 This Lonesome Valley

Jesus walked this lonesome valley.
He had to walk it by Himself;
O, nobody else could walk it for Him,
He had to walk it by Himself.

You have to walk this lonesome valley.
You have to walk it by yourself;
O, nobody else can walk it for you,
You have to walk it by yourself. 

Traditional hymn

Valley places are always places of testing. . . 

It’s in the valley places that your character is tested.

Apostle Eric L. Warren

Though there is no place where God’s presence does not dwell,

 There is this lonesome valley we all must cross alone.

 The Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness,

 And as a pilgrim, I too go through this barren land.  

Propelled by goodness and mercy as my rearguards,

I am led by the hand of God into a wasteland,

Where I must stand on my own and confront my fears,

As I pass through the valley of the shadow of death,

The dark place where no companion can go with me.

Unsure of all that lies ahead, I hesitate,

But I must follow the Spirit’s call into the unknown:

The narrow way–to walk by faith and not by sight.

Though my path may be unclear, this I know for sure:

If God brought me to it, He will bring me through it.

 

You will see less clearly, if at all, where you thought you were going. You most likely will not understand the purpose of it and why God is allowing you to go through such a dark, difficult time. Depending on what God is after, this time may shake you to your very core.

Whenever I am shaken to the very core of my being, I am reminded that the intense shaking that I am enduring is all part of “The Process”:

The Process                          

“When everything that can be shaken is being shaken,

we must  acknowledge the process . . . trust the process. . .

embrace the process. . . and enjoy the process.”

Dr. Mark Chironna

 

My brethren, count it all joy

when you fall into various trials,

James 1:2

 

What I perceive as failure, God sees as success.

In peace and confidence I know that I will find

Understanding that reveals what God had in mind.

As I pursue truth, I acknowledge the process.

Though adversity seeks to hinder my progress,

Though I may be shaken to the depths of my soul,

If I refuse to give up, I will be made whole.

Because our God is faithful, I trust the process.

God’s heart of compassion forever seeks to bless.

I no longer wrestle but surrender—I yield.

As a soldier I vow to stay on the battlefield.

Though I would shun it, I embrace the process.

Our gracious God is good, despite the strain and stress;

Resting in the Lord, I now enjoy the process.

The statement “trust the process” brings to mind a familiar hymn: “Trust and Obey,” which always has application, no matter the situation:

Closing out this entry is a commentary by William Dyer entitled “Fiery Trials Make Golden Christians.” Dyer (1632-1696) is described as a godly pastor, a man of great piety, and a serious fervent preacher, who was expelled from his church in London during the ‘Great Ejection’ of 1662:

Walking through the Valley: Musical Memories

April 26, 2011

Though we would prefer to stay on the mountain top, we all encounter valleys that we must walk through, alone.

Music has been such an intricate part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I express my fondness for all kinds of music in this poem:

 Songs Since

Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!

For he has done marvelous things;

His right hand and his holy arm

   have gained Him the victory.

                 Psalm 98:1

 

My mobile mind recalls all the witty

Songs I’ve heard since I first began to talk,

Every childhood rhyme and infant ditty,

Such silly nonsense sounds of jabberwock.

I remember in my boppin doo-wop days

When I was no more than a high school lad,

I dug the D.J.’s sound that seldom stays–

Oldies but goodies, old and good, so bad.

Some of my songs I sang before I knew

Any of the reasons to cherish them,

Of simple black people, humble and who

Drank in renewed strength from their vintage hymn.

Then came chansons d’amour, delights to learn,

Filled with delicate words I wished I’d penned,

Lightly descend like dew upon a fern,

 Lovely lyrics to share with special friend.

 Each kind of music seems to mirror me,

 Express all of my innermost hopes and joys,

 Reflect my soulful melancholody

  Ennobled by the rich chords’ counterpoise.

 

  All is a song, a noted writer said,

  And I too sing my song and hold no strife.

   Instead of a just a dirge drummed for the dead,

   I sing a mighty melody of life.

The painting “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” by George Inness graphically depicts how overwhelming this valley appears to be.

The painting “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” by George Inness graphically depicts how overwhelming this valley appears to be.

Some of my earliest childhood musical memories are associated with my being a part of Carter Chapel C.M.E. (Christian Methodist Episcopal) Church, located in mid-town Gary, Indiana. I was fortunate in that my church as well as the school that I attended from the 4th grade through high school were within walking distance from our home.  I recall being a part of the Junior Choir which sang on numerous occasions throughout the area, particularly in local churches associated with our denomination.

This morning I happened to think of one of the songs that the Junior Choir sang in mid-1950s, a moving musical composition inspired by a verse from the 23rd Psalm, “We Shall Walk through the Valley in Peace.” Here is a rendition sung by the men of the Buncombe Street United Methodist Chancel Choir under the direction of Rosemary Hughes. The arrangement is by Appling with accompanying photographs of various valleys across the nation and beyond.

As I listened to the music and reflected upon the lyrics, I happened to think of another poem inspired, in part, by one the teachings from a series of messages on the gates mentioned in the Book of Nehemiah, specifically the “Valley Gate”

This Lonesome Valley

Jesus walked this lonesome valley.
He had to walk it by Himself;
O, nobody else could walk it for Him,
He had to walk it by Himself.

You have to walk this lonesome valley.
You have to walk it by yourself;
O, nobody else can walk it for you,
You have to walk it by yourself. 

Black spiritual

 

Valley places are always places of testing. . .                                                             

It’s in the valley places that your character is tested.

Apostle Eric L. Warren

 

 

Though there is no place where God’s presence does not dwell,

There is this lonesome valley we all must cross alone.

The Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness,

And as a pilgrim, I too go through this barren land.

Propelled by goodness and mercy as my rearguards,

I am led by the hand of God into a wasteland,

Where I must stand on my own and confront my fears,

As I pass through the valley of the shadow of death,

The dark place where no companion can go with me.

Unsure of all that lies ahead, I hesitate,

But I must follow the Spirit’s call into the unknown:

The narrow way–to walk by faith and not by sight.

Though my path may be unclear, this I know for sure:

If God brought me to it, He will bring me through it.

This particular poem also opens with lyrics from another similar kind of song related to a valley, the spiritual “Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley” performed by the renowned operatic bass, Jerome Hines.

In a commentary from The ministry of Shattered Men, the author speaks of both mountain top experiences as well as those taking place in the valleys:

We often call those times when we feel great, “mountain top experiences.”  We love those times. Most of us never want to come down from the mountain.  We would stay up there forever if we could.  Well my friend, please realize it is the valleys we go through that make the mountain top so wonderful.  For if it were not for these valleys, we would not appreciate the mountain tops.