TIMES of distress are paradoxically also times of challenge. When we least want to make for change, change it seems most wants to take us with it. And this makes for somewhat a lonely pilgrimage, full of doubt and groaning contemplation.
We want the answer to what ails us, but amidst the confusion that overwhelms there’s no easy way forward. What works one day doesn’t work the next, and so on.
God invites us to take the pilgrimage out of what we’re suffering into the Godhead of his wholeness. The Father cares for his children. The Son cleanses us from all unrighteousness. The Spirit advocates for us on his behalf.
God’s invitation involves taking us as we are into something new for the present and future. In a pilgrimage that starts from today, we learn not to look back, whilst taking with us the precious possessions of our persecutions as impetus for purpose and prosperity. These very trials are what forge our way forward. We wouldn’t have been forced back into the Godhead if not for them. Our trials have compelled us to draw near to God. We had found that ‘pilgrimage’ was the only way to successfully disentangle ourselves from the rot of soul stagnation.
Suffering takes us there: to where our souls are loneliest and most vulnerable.
We’re there for a purpose: for a fresh infilling of the Lord. And then… to not look back.
So as we set forth on this new adventure, one promising peril in the first instance, we must take courage. We must take faith to risk enough to keep stepping, eyes fixed on Jesus. We must take humility to not be put off by the relational stumbling blocks ahead. We must take perseverance enough to rest when we’re tired, instead of giving up. We must take on loan the joy of a hope that will arrive in us as we arrive at our destination. We keep pressing forward in the hope that one day we’ll be able to look back with some fondness for where we’ve come from.
The journey of pilgrimage has its perils and its promises. We cannot hope to attain the promises without embarking on something potentially perilous.
We can know that he who begins the journey with us will not forsake us part way through.
The lonely pilgrimage out of spiritual frailty into wholeness is never lonely as we look back. Our courage to journey litters our memory with worthy insights and joys.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.
“Steve Wickham is a Baptist pastor serving in Perth, Western Australia. He is passionate about the inclusive church, pastoral care and discipleship. Steve has Degrees in Science, Divinity and Counseling. He writes three blogs: (Epitome) http://epitemnein-epitomic.blogspot.com.au/ and (ex-ceed) http://inspiringbetterlife.blogspot.com.au/ and (TRIBEWORK) http://tribework.blogspot.com/.”