Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm a Pilgrim

My blog title comes from Psalm 84. The writer of this Psalm is declaring the benefits of being with God. This, too, is my declaration and future hope. He uses such descriptive language: "How lovely is your dwelling place." "My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord." "my heart and my flesh cry out for...God."

I love the imagery..."even the sparrow has found a home...where she may have her young near your altar." He suggests that to be near God is so wonderful even the birds want to be near him.

"Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage." Living in God's presence is not the same as the American Dream. Growing up as a Christian in America, the overriding message was that if you follow God, he will provide you with good health, great relationships and unending happiness. But God doesn't guarantee those things. Truly following Jesus is setting our hearts on pilgrimage, and that may be a hard life. At least by America's standards.

The American form of Christianity tells us that this earth is our home and we should acquire good things for ourselves: nice house, new cars, and lots of stuff. It tells us that we will have great marriages, good kids and healthy bodies. This American form of Christianity is not the life of pilgrimage. Our hearts are not set on pilgrimage if they are focused on eliminating our pain and increasing our pleasure.

Our hearts are set on pilgrimage when our focus is living in God's presence. I want my one true passion to be for God and to be near him no matter what comes my way, be it enjoyable or painful. I want my pilgrimage toward him to override any lesser pursuits.

For me, right now, I am wrestling with that whole thing. Lately, I have realized how much I have put God on the back burner while I seek to better my circumstances. I have intended to resume my pilgrimage once I feel more "at home" here. Hmmm...like that's going to happen.

Oh, that I will free my anxious hands of the things of this earth and reach once again for my God.