Strength in Him (Psalm 84:5)
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
The Christian life is a pilgrimage: we are all on a journey of faith. This is so exciting! It means that each day I am moving forwards – sometimes consciously but usually not. We have a purpose and direction in life – to press on toward the goal, to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).
The first thing to acknowledge is that I cannot do this on my own and I am not meant to do this on my own. In fact it all starts to go badly wrong if I think I can!
Paul writes of how God’s power is made perfect in our weakness, and that when we are weak, then we are truly strong (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). It is such an encouragement to know that when I feel weak, vulnerable, inadequate, when I feel that we are in danger of going under, when everything seems overwhelming, and I start relying on God’s power and strength rather than my own, then I know that God’s power can be at work in me.
The tricky bit is learning to rely on him when we do feel strong, when we feel that we are coping or doing well: at those times we really need to acknowledge our own weakness and inadequacies and learn to take strength from God.
We may think we are doing well, but it is a very dangerous place to be if we are not continually acknowledging our need of Him.
The other danger when I feel things are going well is that my heart loses its focus on the journey. I want to settle where I am; comfortable and at ease, I sit back and put my feet up, and become complacent.
But we need to have our hearts set on pilgrimage; we need to run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith... so that [we] will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12: 1-3).
We need to recapture the joy of the journey.
May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith,
And at the end of my heart’s testing,
With Your likeness let me wake
Margaret is the mother of our regular contributor, Emma. She lives in Cambridge and is a member of Christ Church. She teaches English in one of the Cambridge schools.