‘Through the Valleys’
“Through the valleys, through the
storms, when the darkness ‘round
me forms, I see Jesus walking
with me, like a shepherd he will be.”
—Chorus of “Through the Valleys” by Thomas Mack
When Major Tom Mack hears that someone is sick and needs a lift, he often sends a copy of “Through the Valleys.” He’s sent the song to literally hundreds of people.
Mack wrote the song after suffering a heart attack in 1990. Doctors had found a blockage in his heart and, after a weekend of prayer, he opted for double–bypass surgery in January 1991.
‘I haven’t had an incident since,’ he says.
Tom receives yearly checkups from his cardiologist, Dr. William Tenet, the twin brother of former CIA Director George Tenet.
Tom says Psalm 23, which helped him through the ordeal, inspired “Through the Valleys.” “That was a dark experience, to say the least,” he says.
He also was helped by Commissioner Stanley Ditmer’s song, “I’m In His Hands.”
Tom has written or arranged more than 400 songs.
“I plan to continue to write,” he says. “A lot of people have sent me their lyrics. It’s a large part of my life.”
Mack says most of his music is “more functional than flashy.”
“I write it thinking, can the average corps songster brigade [choir] sing this? I’ll write it so it’s not too difficult,” he says.
“I try to keep the attitude of Christ,” he says. “If it speaks to people and the music reaches them easily, both technically and spiritually, then so be it. A lot of my music is to be played, not necessarily in a festival, but in a holiness meeting or salvation meeting [church services]. That’s where the real ministry is, actually.”
by Robert Mitchell
—For more on Major Thomas Mack, search for
“Take All My Pride” Priority!, Fall 2007