Posted by: rcottrill | May 8, 2015

There’ll Be No Dark Valley

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Words: William Orcutt Cushing (b. Dec. 31, 1823; d. Oct. 19, 1902)
Music: Ira David Sankey (b. Aug. 28, 1840; d. Aug. 13, 1908)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Though this 1896 song’s text is credited to Cushing, in reality he provided only an idea of the theme to Ira Sankey, who wrote both words and music. (Sankey says only the first line was Cushing’s.) The song has the feel of a traditional Spiritual, using repetition effectively to emphasize the truth of Revelation 21:4. There is more information about the hymn on the Wordwise link.

CH-1) There’ll be no dark valley when Jesus comes,
There’ll be no dark valley when Jesus comes;
There’ll be no dark valley when Jesus comes
To gather His loved ones home.

To gather His loved ones home,
To gather His loved ones home;
There’ll be no dark valley when Jesus comes
To gather His loved ones home.

In the natural world, valleys can often be beautiful, and appealing. But as a metaphor they are sometimes used to represent life’s darker perils.

Coming to mind is Tennyson’s famous poem about the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War. “Into the valley of Death / Rode the six hundred.” The best known biblical instance, though with quite a different mood, is found in the familiar twenty-third Psalm, where David declares, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You [Lord] are with me” (vs. 4). What made the difference for David was the presence and loving care of God, his “Shepherd” (vs. 1).

Descending from the pleasant sunlit peaks of daily experience into the shadowy unknowns of the future can be a daunting thing. What will tomorrow hold, of loss and pain? How will we cope? The Lord doesn’t promise us a smooth and sunny path through all of life. But when we trust in Him, and acknowledge His presence, as David did, we can be assured of His sustaining power and daily provision. “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” the Lord says (Heb. 13:5). And in the struggles of time we must not forget the dawning of eternity. For the Christian, the afflictions of today ultimately will give way to unending blessing.

The prophet Ezekiel got a glimpse of future blessing in a God-given vision concerning the future of Israel. In his vision, Ezekiel found himself in a valley that was full of dry bones (Ezek. 37:1-2). Then the Lord asked him, “Son of man, can these bones live?” (vs. 3). The answer proved to be that they could, by the power of God (vs. 4-5). The meaning, explained to the prophet, was that his people, then in bondage in Babylon, would one day be revived and restored, and that forever (vs. 21-23).

For the Christian, there is the promise of resurrection glory, at the second coming of Christ. “I will come again,” said the Lord to His followers, “and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:3). To which we can say with confidence, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11). “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). In short, no more valleys!

CH-2) There’ll be no more sorrow when Jesus comes,
There’ll be no more sorrow when Jesus comes;
But a glorious morrow when Jesus comes
To gather His loved ones home.

CH-3) There’ll be no more weeping when Jesus comes,
There’ll be no more weeping when Jesus comes;
But a blessèd reaping when Jesus comes
To gather His loved ones home.

In my audio library I have a scratchy recording of the song, made about two years after it was written. The soloist is Mr. Sankey himself. In ill health, the ravages of time having greatly depleted the power and richness of his voice, he still sings with the firm assurance, “ There’ll be no dark valley when Jesus comes / To gather His loved ones home.”

CH-4) There’ll be songs of greeting when Jesus comes,
There’ll be songs of greeting when Jesus comes;
And a joyful meeting when Jesus comes
To gather His loved ones home.

Questions:
1) What dark valleys of soul or body are you facing at the present time?

2) Is there someone else going through a dark valley that you can encourage with this song?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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