The mom of my friend died the other afternoon. We talked together a few hours before.
He knew it was coming. He was anticipating the arrangements, the conversations, the travel. He was feeling weary. I knew the feeling. Some of you do, too.
A couple hours before we met, I had been reading a prayer. I came across it, I confess, by opening my Bible to Psalms. No reading pattern, no plan.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.”
That’s us, you and me, those of us who are on this journey, this pilgrimage, this process of learning about following Jesus. That’s us, you and me, driven by our weakness.
“As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.”
It’s a valley near Jerusalem, a valley of dryness. People on pilgrimage bring water to dry places.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
This is the sentence that stopped me, that made me reflect. Because on my pilgrimage there are many moments that don’t feel like strength. Moments like the one sitting with my friend.
But what if this is us, you and me, though we often don’t realize it. That’s us moving from oasis to oasis, with long stretches between. That’s us, moving from time of healing to time of healing, with need of healing between. What if the moments of strength are what sustains us in the in-between? What if the walk of faith is characterized, as Paul wrote by “striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” What if the strength is a series of texts in the moments we need it for when we need it rather than the whole book, a drip rather than a reservoir.