Unbolted from My Love Affair with This World

TODAY’S TREASURE

 

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, until each appears before God in Zion.

Psalm 84:5-7 NIV

 

When life comes crashing down, knowing I don’t belong “here” and that this earth is not my Home, fuels my journey with hope.

About two years after the fatal car accident of our son Mark and his friend Kelly,  I tried to comfort Leslie, another bereaved mother, by telling her that almost immediately after the news of the deaths of our son and his friend, Chuck, my husband and Mark’s dad exclaimed: “Mark’s death unbolted me from my love affair with this world.” Leslie later told me that she could hear her chains dropping, freeing her to confidently look forward to her ultimate destination with hope. She was on her way Home.

If you love Jesus, you don’t belong “here”; you are on our way Home. Such truth fuels our pilgrimage when being “here”, hurts more than we can bear.

Psalm 84, often called the Pearl of the Psalms, describes people on a pilgrimage. Many theologians believe this Psalm was written by David during the period when his son Absalom wanted to kill him. David was in hiding and homesick. He longed for Zion. In Psalm 87:2-3 we see that Zion is synonymous with “City of God,” a place that God loves. In the Old Testament, sometimes Zion means the people of God (Isaiah 60:14) or the location of the temple of God. In the New Testament Zion refers to God’s spiritual kingdom (Hebrews 12:22). Peter calls Christ the cornerstone in Zion (1 Peter 2:6). Zion means Home for the child of God.

David pictures the Israelites on a pilgrimage to the “City of God” and David longs to be with the people of God, and in the presence of God.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, until each appears before God in Zion.

Psalm 84:5-7 NIV

God has set eternity in the hearts of His people (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The sure destination of Home fuels my journey when life takes an unexpected turn. But such a journey is not without potholes or deep valleys. The journey of the Israelites took them through the Valley of Baca, also known as the Valley of Tears. They had to pass through a desert. They could not carry enough water for their trip. These pilgrims counted on travelers ahead of them to dig holes big enough to capture the periodic sudden downpours of rain. Those travelers made sure the holes were deep enough to hold water for the next group of pilgrims coming behind them – because someone ahead of them dug similar holes.  As they passed through the Valley of Tears, they made it a place of springs.

The pilgrims also passed from “strength to strength” gaining courage and wisdom as they met up with fellow travelers, cheering one another on through the dry, dark valley of tears. Their longing for the City of God, the puddles of water left by pilgrims further ahead, and fellow travelers cheering them on – these all fueled their pilgrimage with hope.

Can you see the parallels to our own journey Home? We depend on pilgrims further along in the journey to leave us “puddles of grace” designed to help guide us through the scary and despairing circumstances of life. We depend on people ahead of us to “call back” and comfort us with this truth: God is sovereign and we can trust Him. Though we may have to travel some roads alone, God designed us for community. We go from “strength to strength” as we meet up with others traveling a similar pathway. When life comes crashing down, choose to lean into this truth: I am on my way Home and though the journey is difficult, there are “puddles of grace” along the way, left by those farther along in life’s journey, designed to encourage me to believe that God is sovereign and I can trust Him.

 

PRAYER

 

Oh Lord, may I leave “puddles of grace” for those coming behind me, stories of how You never let go of me. Show me someone who is on a pilgrimage, who is gasping from thirst, who needs refreshment from another farther along life’s pathway. Show me someone who needs to hear how Your grace continues to cover me with love. Please, keep stirring up within me, a longing for You, confident that You are leading me Home.

 
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