During a recent holiday I visited the fishing village of Staithes on the North East coast of Yorkshire and stood on the spot where God found me and saved me, as a teenager. It was there, for the first time in my life, I understood the Gospel and was overwhelmed. God’s amazing love and my sinfulness met at the cross, and my life was changed for ever. My husband and I gave thanks to God for that wonderful day so many years ago which has had far reaching results.
Standing outside the building where I was saved brought to mind the text above. I realised that in spiritual terms I made a pilgrimage because I went to ‘A place of particular interest and significance’. I also realised that on that August day so many years ago I’d became a pilgrim on the journey of life, with Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
Someone’s said that a heart set on pilgrimage is a heart always wanting more of God. It’s a heart fixed on Him and His purposes, finding strength in weakness and able to praise Him, despite the many stumbling blocks on the journey. Like Pilgrim in John Bunyan’s book, we are all on a journey to the heavenly city. Sometimes the way is smooth; sometimes it’s rough; sometimes it’s joyful and other times it’s sorrowful. We don’t walk alone on our pilgrimage, for the One who called us has promised never to leave us or forsake us, and we have countless brothers and sisters who’re alongside on the journey.
The Bible encourages us as God’s people to sometimes look back and remember the way that God has led us – to look back with gratitude for His faithfulness, grace, mercy and presence with us. It also encourages us to look forward to what lies ahead when we reach the end of our pilgrimage, for then we’ll see Him face to face and be with Him for evermore.
In 1874 the hymn writer Fanny Crosby wrote, ‘Towards the close of a day I was sitting in my room thinking of the nearness of God through Christ as the constant companion of my Pilgrim Journey, when my heart burst with the words –
Thou my everlasting portion, more than friend or life to me,
All along my pilgrim journey, Saviour let me walk with Thee.
Close to Thee, close to Thee, close to Thee, close to Thee.
All along my pilgrim journey, Saviour let me walk with Thee’.
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thank You for revealing Yourself to me. Thank You for saving me and calling me to become a pilgrim on the journey to the heavenly city. Please put within my heart a deep longing to know You more nearly and to love You more dearly for the honour and glory of Jesus. Amen.
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