A Pilgrimage Fueled by Hope
by Sharon Betters
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
Psalm 34:8 NIV
In her book, Pursue the Intentional Life, Jean Fleming tells the story of a man whose lifelong disciplines and creativity saved his life when the world literally fell in on him. It was 2010 and a horrific earthquake rumbled and the earth erupted, tearing down thousands of structures and killing untold numbers. One man, head of a music school, Juilliard trained and blind, was trapped in rubble for eighteen hours. How did he survive? He went into his default mode. He tapped into the disciplines that had brought him to this point in his life. Fleming writes: “He structured his hours: He prayed and meditated for twenty minutes. Then he played, note by note various classical pieces in his mind for forty minutes. He passed his earthquake prison time repeating this pattern, a configuration of discipline and creativity.” (Pursue the Intentional Life, Jean Fleming, NavPress 2013 page 90)
Fleming continues, “The creativity I applaud here is not that he is a musician or that he played music in his mind but rather that he creatively determined how he would use his time when few options were open to him. I imagine the terror of being confined to a small space, not knowing if rescuers would come. The physical dilemma is undeniable, but the greater challenge is managing the mind and spirit. Panic and despair are threats as dangerous as the weight of debris and the need for food and water. Although I might never suffer through disaster like this courageous man did, every day life provides ample challenges and opportunities to choose the shape my life will take.” (Pursue the Intentional Life, Jean Fleming, NavPress 2013 page 90)
This Julliard trained blind musician lived by certain disciplines that he tapped into when the world crashed down on top of him: he turned to prayer, meditation and his music. His inner world structure became his default mode when life literally crushed him.
This story begs the question: What is my default mode when those troubles rush in, when I feel trapped by life, by circumstances, by weariness? When I want to quit? What is yours?
Each of us is on a pilgrimage. Though few of us will suffer such a physical disaster on our life journey, Jesus promises that in this life we will have troubles (John 16:33). Some days joy and purpose fuel our journey, other days we struggle to “keep on keeping on”. Weariness, at the thought of taking one more step, tempts us to sit down and refuse to move. How can we continue to walk by faith when circumstances crush our plans, crash our dreams, shatter our personal worlds?
Throughout this devotional series, we’ll take a look at how some people in Scripture faced hard places. Their responses to life crashing down on them, become classrooms where we learn what structures in their lives created protective fences, when they might have been tempted to run away. We will consider how our response to the invitation to “taste and see that the Lord is good”, (Psalm 38:4), creates a default mode that will either fuel our life pilgrimages with hope or leave us hopeless and helpless.
Ask your friends to join you on this treasure hunt as we unpack “pilgrimage teaching moments” that will fuel our journey with hope. They can subscribe at www.markinc.org/dailytreasure.
Treasured by Him,