Backstory: Last summer (2013) God called me to go on a pilgrimage – El Camino de Santiago de Compostela Frances. It was a daunting call as I am 45 years old, and very out of shape. I carry extra weight and have a few health issues that make this call especially challenging. So much so that I have repeatedly reminded God that “I think you may have the wrong gal for this task!” But in the heart of obedience to my Lord Jesus, I put on a pair of my tennis shoes on September 2, 2013 and took a long walk. It was the start of my pilgrimage – right out my front door. I worked hard and made slow progress. I faithfully and consistently recorded my walks and my health so I could see that I was working toward the goal and task to which God was drawing me. He confirmed to me over and over that this was His will.
What I didn’t expect (and should have, as I know better) that pilgrimages often are paths with challenging circumstances and unexpected routes. Mine is proving to be no different. My walking came to a full stop on February 5th. I came down with a cold that developed into bronchitis and settled deep into my lungs. I’ve now, not so patiently, lived with a low activity life filled with breathing treatments and medications for 5 weeks. Initially (and when I say initially, I mean for a month now), I believed that this current circumstance was just a setback. A temporary interruption of God’s plan for my pilgrimage. I have complained about my lack of progress, and repeatedly expressed my desire to speed up this recovery so I can get back to my training.
Yesterday, a sweet sister in Christ, reminded me that God is in control. He has allowed this, even appointed this, for a purpose. I need to take my eyes off of my circumstances and get them back onto my Father in Heaven. He has lessons for me in this stillness and healing. He has purpose in my sitting and being still. AND I MISSED IT.
This illness is part of my pilgrimage.
I had such expectations of a continuous training program that it never occurred to me that God might have other side path lessons and experiences for me along the way. I will not pray away this illness. I trust God’s will in it and praise Him for it. He is showing me more than I had asked or imagined I’d learn from His calling, and I am grateful.
Sometimes, while we are walking with God in His will, He will ask us (make us) to stop and be still. Take a break. Take a long break. He wants our full attention. He has something to show us; to teach us.
Sometimes, while we are walking with God in His will, He turns our path to a direction that we had not anticipated. We thought we were headed north and suddenly He is directing us to go south.
I pray that I will continue to keep my eyes on Jesus as He guides my path. I am learning that if I don’t, my own expectations of where we are going will lead me astray. Like the Camino, I’ll miss the yellow arrows that show me where to go. I must keep a careful watch and listen to Him well in order to follow Him. There can only be one leader, one pilgrimage guide, in my life, and it can’t be me.
Father God, thank you for my sweet sister in Christ who spoke Your truth to me when I needed to hear it! Thank You for this time of rest. My feet and my legs are renewed. Thank You for the opportunity to see those at my doctor’s office. Let me be a light to them when I see them again this week. Thank You for the new lessons on this winding path of my pilgrimage and for showing me that my pilgrimage doesn’t begin when I get to France; it began when I obeyed Your call. Lord I trust Your plan for this path. Help me to keep my eyes focused on You, my guide.
Only the Lord our God knows where we are headed. He has the master plan. He is preparing us along our journey for what is to come along down this winding path ahead.
Rest in Him. Keep your eyes on Him. Be encouraged. Press on.