Setting Your Heart on a Pilgrimage
Embracing the Journey of Growing in Your Faith in God
by Joanne Troppello
I’ve been reading and studying the Psalms during my devotional time with the Lord. I read through Psalm 84 and one verse in particular truly resonated with my heart because I feel as though I’ve been on a renewed pilgrimage to deepen my walk with the Lord – since last September (2020).
“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.” – Psalm 84:5 (NKJV)
I’ve been a Christian for 33 years. My walk with the Lord has been up and down. There have been many, many growing experiences – and chastening from God. Yet, after COVID-19 hit and everything in the world seemed to turn upside down with riots, division etc., it hit me that I need to be living for eternity and not the here and now.
Sure, you should live in the moment and plan for your future, being good stewards of what the Lord has entrusted to you. Yet, that verse that I read about pilgrimage truly touched my heart.
You are blessed when you find your strength in the Lord. That seems to be where I’m at lately – living literally one minute at a time – getting my hope and strength from the Lord. However, receiving strength from God is linked in that verse to having a heart set on pilgrimage.
According to Dictionary.com, a pilgrimage is a “pilgrim’s journey, such as on a religious or holy expedition.” I use the Thomas Nelson Study Bible for my reading and devotional time. I love the notes and scripture references to help me truly get a deeper meaning of the passage I’m reading.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. 6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools.7 They go from strength to strength;Each one appears before God in Zion. – Psalm 84:5-7 (NKJV)
I love the explanation that is given in my study Bible for verses 5-7 of Psalm 84:
“The phrase whose heart is set on pilgrimage refers to those who make their way to the temple not out of obligation but out of a wellspring of joy. The Valley of Baca, or Valley of Weeping, refers to the various difficulties that one might face on a pilgrimage. The person on a pilgrimage might discover that the once-dark-valley is filled with springs, rain, and pools—all signs of God’s blessing, strength to strength: as one nears the temple, the rigors of the journey become tolerable for the joy of the approaching arrival strengthens the soul.”
In life, you will face difficulties. That’s a given. It should be no surprise to you. Even Christians face difficulties. Getting saved, will not save you from going through troubles in life. Salvation refers to your eternal gift of life, saved from eternal damnation in Hell.
Yet, as a Pilgrim in your walk with Christ, the blessed life is one whose focus is on the joy of the journey – simply walking with the Lord through it all – and not focusing on the difficulties.
I love how the Thomas Nelson Study Bible references that those who make their way to the temple do so not out of obligation but out of a wellspring of joy. That’s the key! The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Pure and simple. That’s how I can be joyful while experiencing the hardships in life – because I look to the Lord for my sustenance (body, soul, and spirit).
The last line of the notes where it says that the rigors of the journey become tolerable for the joy of the approaching arrival strengthens the soul is so true. The older I get, the more my focus is on eternity. The longer I am a Christian, the closer I get to the Lord and the hardships in life become more bearable.
Now, I am no saint. Just ask my husband. I mess up like everyone else. I get agitated and annoyed when things don’t work out and life is out of control. However, those instances where I react immaturely, rather than respond maturely, are getting less and less.
You can have joy in your journey with the Lord as well when you focus on Him as He walks with you, and not focus on the difficulties.
What are you studying in the Bible during your devotional time?
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel. Connect with Joanne on Twitter. You can find Joanne on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, and Clouthub—with the same username, @JoanneTroppello—and @joannetroppello.mseedsentinel on Instagram. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel. Check out MSS Live Well Corner.