April 02, 2009


A pilgrim is a traveler on a journey of great significance, according to dear old Webster. I started this day of my pilgrimage on my face.

It was a suggestion by Beth Moore. In her study, "Stepping Up," she says that in His economy, the way up is down.

And I am certainly down right now. Not that I am having a particularly difficult time, but I am a woman on a journey through life, a journey that sends me through the daily gauntlet of self-doubts, relational strain, stress, lack of sleep, etc. (the usual afflictions of adult existence). On top of that, I do live in another country, which is a whole other gauntlet of its own.

So let me tell you, it is very good to start my day on my face. It is very good to stop trying to start my day standing tall, pretending I am on top of things. First Pete chapter five verse six says, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under [His] mighty hand, that He might lift you up in due time."

How can he lift up what isn't down?

My dear friend, Laura, and her sweet family are finishing up three years in India. Her experience has brought her to her knees. She blogs about it so beautifully, quoting the song "Ruins" by Bebo Norman. In it, Norman sings "Let my ruins become the ground you build upon. Let my ruins become the start."

On this pilgrimage, we are not alone. There is no corner of earth that was not knowingly created by Him, nor is there any blade of grass that escapes his eye. How comforting! Psalm 121 verse 5, in the Hans-Joachim Kraus version, says "Yahweh is your keeper." Beth Moore, in this particular study, points out that the word "keeper" is the Hebrew word SHAMAR, which means "protecter" "keeper" or "guard." Interestingly, the same word, SHAMAR, is used in Genesis chapter two verse fifteen, where God says man will "work" the land and "take care of it." As man works the land, so God works us.

I don't have a green thumb, but the green thumbs I know are hopelessly devoted to their gardens, house plants, and fields. They pour over them, treating the soul, testing humidity and acidity, pulling weeds until their backs ache.

That is how he tends to us. I am not a wild plant growing outside of care and supervision. I was planted intentionally, and I am being cared for. I am being built. I may be a pile of ruins now, but there is no telling what kind of structure will be standing when this journey is through.