“Blessed is the man whose strength is in God, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.” ~Psalm 84:5 NKJV
I’m not much of a traveler. I get sick in the air and am impatient on the ground. I am a coward in things unfamiliar and a control freak in the things around me. I like an adventure, but only if it be comfortable, so this idea of a heart set on pilgrimage is terrifying to me.
But a journey is required. If I am to be conformed daily to the image of Christ, I don’t have a choice but to go. And what about that journey? Will it be comfortable? Will it be a smooth, paved road? When I come to the mountain of challenge, will the road be steep and bumpy? When I descend into the valley of trial and discouragement, with the drop cause terror to claw against my heart?
Can I pick the route?
Probably not. Amend that—no. I can’t. Submitting to my LORD, I relinquished all presumption of that ‘right.’ But even in knowing that God is good, and His plan is good, and He wants to shape me into the image of Christ, which is good, I know that trials wait ahead. How do I know?
Because I’ve seen my father-in-law carve a stump with a chainsaw. I’ve asked him how he does it and he replied “I keep cutting until the bear comes out.”
I need more cutting, because I don’t look like Jesus yet. And from every indication of the saints that have gone before me, God has a tendency to use the blade of pilgrimage to clear away the things that don’t belong on His image-bearers.
I recently heard the following prayer by Betty Stam. “Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.”
Trembling, I’m stuttering the words for my own heart. Though I know how Betty’s life ended, I am also quite sure that I want to be like her. Because she looked like Jesus.