I have been marinating in Psalm 84 the past week. It’s the prayer my heart keeps going back to. Perhaps it’s the Psalmist’s longing to return to a place of such beauty and intimacy with God that I identify with, but then I also savor the image of the swallow nesting so close to the holiest of places. Then there is the passage about pilgrims, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage…They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion.” Psalm 84:5…7
It’s the description of pilgrims that rings brings me home. This summer I read a book about a Catholic priest who joined centuries of pilgrims across Spain on the Camino de Santiago Campostela. Life was stripped down to the bare essentials carried on one’s back. Slowing life down to a walking pace, experiencing the contrasts of stunning scenery and noisy Spanish highways, and the highs and lows of such a physical task humbled him and increased his hunger for God at a level he hadn’t known before. Along the way, he met people he had absolutely nothing in common with as well as folks that he related to at deep levels. Eventually, he and a handful of others banded together to help one another complete the pilgrimage. They literally went from strength to strength. On days when one pilgrim was low, the other encouraged him on.
Isn’t that what life is like for us believers? Aren’t we pilgrims of a sort all heading to our final destination, our heavenly home? Seldom is our journey what we expected, but when the path is in the direction of our heavenly Father, we ultimately, will never be disappointed. As good as life is, sometimes I find myself longing for that place where there is the constant joy of knowing God’s presence. Until then, I’ll keep the heart of the pilgrim that moves on from strength to strength.