“Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley” is a song that will not only remind us of the time Jesus wandered in the wilderness. It also encourages us of our participation with Christ as we walk our own lonesome valley and stand our trials. Jesus faced many trials and carried the burdens of the whole world until His last breath. Thus, we also need to bear our own cross on earth. In particular, the message of the song can be summarized as follows as what James Cone stated,
“The journey of salvation is like a lonesome valley with hard trials, and the believer has to travel the valley for himself.”
However, the good news is that we don’t have to walk our lonesome valley alone. Jesus is, and always will be, there to accompany us. We just have to let Him be and follow His steps all the way.
Brief Song Background
The lyrics to this hymn originated from American traditional folk songs while its tune (Lonesome Valley) is an African-American spiritual. While the song may have existed many years ago, its inclusion in North American hymnals was not wide. Between 1947-1975, the song is enlisted in only ten collections in the Dictionary of North Amercian Hymnology. But recently, the hymn started to gain popularity given its appearances on several latest hymnals and supplements. It can be noted from these collections that the wording of the song has undergone slight modifications. Aside from the reordering of the stanzas, there was also the addition of some lines by several hymnists and lyricists.
Featured in the video below was American country blues singer and guitarist Mississippi John Hurt singing the hymn.
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Jesus, Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley, Mississippi John Hurt