“Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains! They will continue to grow stronger, and each will appear before God in Jerusalem.” (Psalm 84:5-7) 

Psalm 84 should be the echo of our hearts. ‘I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of
the Lord.’ That is, or at least it should be, the desire of our hearts. To live in God’s presence to ‘live in His house, always singing His praises.’ How do we get there? I love the imagery of the Psalmist in the verses above. Remember Revelations where it says, ‘And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband.’

Thinking of this, the verses above tell a story of our lives. ‘Happy are those who are strong in the Lord’. We are God’s children and He is our Father. Before we were filthy and full of sin, but God through Grace changed that. Christ is the turning point, the sole  reason that our desires have changed. He gives us this desire, this longing to live in Him, in His presence.

So now we live our lives with a purpose, a goal towards God. Happy are those that have this relationship with God, that have a heart that has been changed, that live a new life, that live a  Christ driven life and through these things become strong in the Lord. Don’t be fooled, only with this new desire and only through Christ do we reach a place where we look towards His new Jerusalem.

Now, as we look towards His house, we set our minds on a pilgrimage. A journey through life to reach the place where our true home lies. ‘For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come.’ Are you looking forward to this day, are you longing to be home? Set your minds on Christ, live life’s journey towards Him. Walk in His steps for only He can lead you on the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

No one said this journey would be easy. In fact, ‘everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ  Jesus will suffer persecution.’ Even the verses above say ‘When they walk through the Valley of Weeping’. Not ‘if’ but ‘when’! This should encourage us rather than lead us away from Christ. For a start, suffering persecution because of the way we live in Christ, means that we belong to Him. We can be sure that we are His, we can be sure that we are true sons and not illegitimate.

We also know that suffering refines us. Listen to the Psalmist words, ‘They will continue to grow stronger’. Suffering prepares us for the day when we will enter God’s presence, when we will enter our home. The journey we travel always brings us closer to home, as long as we travel the right path. The right path will always have suffering but we can always sing for joy!

Again we are encouraged, as again the Psalmist says, ‘it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains!’ Who do you know can say this, that although we suffer we sing for joy? Know that through Christ, suffering will always lead to blessing.

Even if we don’t fully see it now or during our lives as foreigners on earth, we will see it as ‘each of us appears before God in Jerusalem.’ As Paul says in Hebrews, ‘All these faithful ones died without receiving what God had promised them, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed the promises of God.’ And a bit later, ‘But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland.’ Do we not have the same longing? Do we not want to ‘appear before God in Jerusalem’?

This is the story of our lives to get there and I
pray that ‘refreshing springs’ will follow you and that ‘pools of blessing will collect after the rains’
as you live a life in Christ.

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