Any journey we undertake with God is one where we are never alone, even if we may feel like it sometimes. Our lives can seem empty, despite being full of activity, and we may sense an inner restlessness that nothing else can satisfy. A gentle, holy whisper in our hearts that bids us “Come” is worth paying attention to.
Ever since I started my God-sized dream journey, God has made it abundantly clear I can do nothing without Him, and that my deepest need is to spend time alone in His presence.
This week, Holley encouraged us to: set aside time to be with God – pray, journal, take a walk, or simply sit quietly and listen and then share what our heart receives.
“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore..” ~ Andre Gide
The shore we cling to may be one of Security. Comfort. Ease. Predictability. It takes courage to step out into the unknown, unsure of where we’ll end up. In the changing scenes of life I am one who favours stability, though not stagnation.
My early life experiences steer me in the direction of wanting to be safe, to know what lies ahead and how to deal with it. Yet God is always taking me out of my comfort zone, time and again.
Journeying with God
Journeying with God is anything but stable and predictable, even if His love, grace, help, comfort and character are always to be relied upon.
Though God is unquestionably good (and so are His plans for us), He is also (as Lucy learnt about Aslan) Not Safe in terms of being controllable or predictable – far from it.
Following God’s ways are a challenge that stretches us to the utmost. Journeying through the twists and turns of life involves accepting valleys as well as mountain-tops.
I would prefer the quick detour to the top, rather than a circuitous, uphill climb that leaves me panting and breathless, red-faced with exertion and exhaustion.
Much of my life has been spent in wilderness dwelling. I want to shake sand off and get moving somewhere more hospitable, but God has other ideas.
I sense Him saying: Pause. Breathe. Reflect. Enjoy the scenery. Yes, right where I am.
I’m a restless, impatient pilgrim, always wanting to see what is round the next corner. Staying put to rest, reflect and enjoy the scenery before moving ahead is a challenge.
A journey of pilgrimage
Being on pilgrimage is what shapes, makes, and often breaks us – removing preconceptions, limitations and ideas of managing in our own strength alone.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their heart on pilgrimage. As they pass through the valley of Baca (weeping), they make it a place of springs, the autumn rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion” ~ Psalm 84:5 – 7
Those deep, dark places are where we do our best growing as believers as we set our hearts on continuing the journey. The valley of weeping and wailing, darkness and discouragement, sadness and sorrow, can become a place of refreshment and watering for dry, thirsty souls because the Lord is close to the crushed and broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18)
Autumn rain speaks to me of the season of my life, made mellow and ripe with potential of abundant fruitfulness, God willing. He isn’t finished with me yet!
Those pools of refreshment may not be visible for a while, though rivulets run freely from the throne of Grace if we only look for and anticipate them.
The fruitful life may look anything but on the surface, yet yield great abundance in the spiritual realm. Our frailty, weakness and vulnerability are the very avenues through which God shines best.
“If God sends us on stony paths, He will provide strong shoes” ~ Alexander Maclaren
Trusting God in the journey
If I can enjoy the moment, be fully present in the here and now, that way lies peace. It is a rare gift to be able to trust God for each moment, enjoying His hand holding ours through storms, dark places and smoother pathways, with no alarm or anxiety in either state.
I’m not there yet and may never be, but I am grateful for the insights as I progress in faith. As it is, God graces us all with companions, reassurance and hope along the way. The words below are an encouragement to keep us journeying on, no matter what:
“Let nothing disturb you, nothing dismay you; all things are passing; God never changes; patient endurance attains all things; whoever possesses God lacks nothing; God alone suffices” ~ Teresa of Avila