Walking The Way
In Autumn last Year Jane set off on a five day walk in Northern Spain. This is her account of the journey.
I’m just back from ticking off one of my ‘Bucket List’ by walking one of the routes of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Tradition has it that after Jesus ascended into heaven, the Apostle James went to the furthest point of the known world; to Cape Finisterra in Galicia. He returned to Jerusalem in 44AD where he was beheaded, but his body was ‘rescued’ and taken back to Galicia. Over time his remains were lost, but after 800 years a rain of stars pointed to a tomb in a field ‘campus stellae’ becoming Compostela.
I was walking the Portuguese route, starting just over the border and walking into Spain. The tomb of the Apostle James has no special significance to me and I really did not think of this journey as a pilgrimage.
I saw this sign while walking and I believe it to be true.
The morning we started from Portugal, my daily reading was about when God showed up with a message for Gideon. He essentially said in Judges 6 verses 14 to 16 ‘Go with the strength you have…I will be with you.’
This is God’s promise to each and every one of us. You don’t have to have it all sussed. Just keep moving forward and He will be with us every step of the way. As I walked, I thought about the journey.
The enthusiastic start we make, our heads are high and we see the amazing scenery around us. We meet others also making the journey and we have their greetings and good wishes and, like life, we pass milestones which help us see how we have progressed, like getting married or the birth of a grandchild. Then we start to tire! Our feet get sore and we may even develop a blister that will leave hard skin or give us a little tender spot in the future.
Do any of us have any spiritual ‘tender spots’? Maybe our boots aren’t as comfortable as we thought, or perhaps we need to take things slower. We need to learn to be in constant communication with God, follow His lead, moving forward at the pace He has set for us. Relationships takes time and effort and we need to develop that closeness to God that will stop us running off on our own steam!
Taking your time or waiting to move on can be very challenging, but we need to move at God’s pace. Some folk will move faster than others and some will move slower. Don’t look around and wish you were them or had their experiences or qualities. Your walk is between you and God. His plan for you is perfect and it is personal.
I was once asked ‘What makes a good Christian?’ There is no such thing as a ‘good’ Christian. A Christian just keeps seeking God. If the way is tough, then baby steps may be all we have the strength to take, but we know God is faithful.
Psalm 30 verse 5 says ‘Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.’
God knows our frailty. He created us and he knows everything about us! How do we manage to keep going when we feel exhausted and spent?
Hebrews 12 verse 2 tells us ‘We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Champion who initiates and perfects our faith.’
He does not promise us an easy life, but He does promise to be with us every step of the way. Often the toughest things happen when we least expect them. They happen so suddenly that it takes our breath away and we can feel broken beyond repair! When this happens, God may want to put us back together a different way. We might need to be prepared to let go of something or even someone.
One day while walking, I came across a big pile of broken pieces of granite. Next to it was a pile where the granite had been sorted according to its size and shape. I then looked up and saw a beautiful mosaic-style wall that had been built from this. When we are struggling, our heads go down, our feet drag and we forget to look up, but Jesus is the lifter of my head!
Keep our eyes on Him! From amid the brokenness, God can create something unique and beautiful.
You do not need to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela to be a pilgrim. A pilgrimage is simply a journey a pilgrim makes to come to know God better. Let us encourage each other on the journey.
If you want to know more about walking with God why not join us one Sunday?