Monday, October 1, 2012

Heart Set on Pilgrimage

Psalm 84:5-6
"Happy are the people whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a source of spring water; even the autumn rain will cover it with blessings."

1. A journey to a sacred place
2. A long journey or search, especially one of exalted purpose or moral significance.

This is not our home.  We are on a pilgrimage...passing through this life, this earth only momentarily.  Sometimes we get to collecting things like houses, cars, books, computers, things...and our steps get harder to make with the weight on our backs of all the things we are toting with us.  Sometimes we sit down and forget the pilgrimage altogether.  We dig into the soil, lay a foundation and just stay put, soaking in the here-and-now.  But the truth is that our hearts are to be set on pilgrimage.  My Bible note says that the phrase "whose hearts are set on pilgrimage" is literally "the highways are on their  hearts."

Think about that one for a minute: is the highway on my heart?  Or is my heart wrapped snugly in the comfort of this house, this life, this plan?

We're at a crossroads, saying YES to whatever road God chooses to point us toward.  We don't know exactly what He is going to do, but we do know that the highway is stretching out before us...our hearts have been set on it for quite awhile, and soon our feet will begin walking it.

The shift has already begun.  The seams have begun to pop, one thread at a time.  Relationships have begun to shift, doors have begun to close here, and a gentle undercurrent has begun...ever pushing our feet forward.  And we have found ourselves ever-present in the Valley of Baca.  Baca means, "To weep."  Pilgrims have tears.  The missionary Isobel Kuhn wrote in her book In the Arena about a season in her life when "human props" were removed.  Everything was removed for a season...her closest friends, her children, her husband, her unborn baby, her plans.  She talked of how those are all human props that we simply cannot rely upon.  When all is removed, we find that all we have is God.  And God is all we really need.  Sometimes He has to move us to that point where it's just us and Him, because He's preparing us for the highway.

Human props have begun to be removed out from under us.  This person, that thing, this friendship, that security, this hope, this plan...all removed.  And we walk through the valley of weeping.  And yet there He is, turning our weeping into a source of spring water, blessings.  

Our eyes look to Him, and our feet are ever determined to go in whichever way He bends the road.  Happy are the people whose strength is in God, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

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