The people arrived at the border of Canaan the second time in a different mood and with a lot different faith than they came the first time. It was not arriving at the Promised Land that prepared Israel for conquest, but their journey to the Promised Land. It wasn’t arriving at the Gergesenes that taught the disciples about God but going through the storm on the trip across the lake. I have come to know God more during my life but not because of 30 years of preaching but 30 years of problems. It’s not the weekly sermons that have helped me know Him but the desperate weeks I walked the block, crying out for answers to heart-breaking challenges in my life, family and church.
Blessed is the person who understands that it is in the pilgrimage and the journey, that we are blessed.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; the rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. Psalm 84:5-7
No one ever benefited much from arriving at the destination. Nobody learns anything on graduation day but in the 4 years it took to get there. Whatever you think the destination is in your life, it’s the journey to the destination that matters most. It’s the journey that God uses. It’s in the journey that God grows you. And the journey isn’t into ministry but into our Fathers heart.
I like you have had difficult days. Friends have left town, and staff have quit. Parents have passed on, and children have been in bad car accidents. I have been through personal burn out and had children who walked from God.
I thought these things were interrupting my weekly routine of worship and preparation for preaching. As interruptions to the work of the “man of God” only find out the interruptions were the work of God and they were the making of the man of God.
It is the journey, the pilgrimage because you don’t find God in a manual but you find Him in the midst of mystery and sometimes misery and drawing from His grace and mercy.
If we set our heart on pilgrimage through our valleys, we will grow in strength. Pass through and make it into a spring for there is always water in the valleys. If we seek Him, He will find us!
Verse seven says you will appear before God in Zion. Not that He necessarily will appear to you. You might still be feeling lost in a crowd of troubles; at a loss to understand how things have worked out the way they have. But when a child is lost in a crowd, it doesn’t matter if the child can’t see the father for they are safe the moment the father sees the child. The child appears before the Father and he is safe. He will be rescued, he will be restored and strengthened and comforted because he appears before the Father. If we seek Him, He will find us!
Friends, let’s set our hearts on pilgrimage; going on, going through, and getting closer. Find the springs and the Father in the valley of Baca.