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AtchafalayaBasin 640CW

A stepping stone to joy

Regular columnist Ruth Tong explains that when we go through tough times, God may be leading us to something better.

Psalm 84:6 ‘As they pass through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs’.
The Atchafalaya Swamp in Mississippi, (pictured above), is a body of water stretching 120 miles long and 9 miles wide. It is made up of swampland, bayous, tree roots and small grass marshes. This makes it a pleasant place for gars (big fish that bite), parasites, snakes and of course alligators!
In the 1800’s, slaves who found the courage to out-run enslavement would flee to such a place. You see, it was so dangerous that no tobacco merchant, no cotton trader, no hired foreman, not even other slaves dared follow. Few made it out alive. It’s hard to imagine what would drive a person to go to such a place, and yet there are times when circumstances force us to do things we’d never imagine we’d do.
In Palm 84, we’re reminded a place of death - ‘Baca’.  However, this doesn’t have to be a place of death; with God the terrifying place, the tough place can become a safe harbour and even a place of blessing.
Be encouraged - this temporary place can be a stepping stone to new levels of freedom in Christ, just as it was for those slaves who made it out alive.
‘Lord, please help me to find courage and strength in you when I wade through tough times, and remember that joy will come eventually’

The above image is from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library, courtesy of Commons Wikipedia.

Ruth TongRuth Tong is the Coordinator of Women’s Ministries at Eternity Downham Market, and is the author of ‘Love Drops from Heaven’.  Ruth regularly blogs at


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Network Norwich and Norfolk > People > Opinion > A stepping stone to joy

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