“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca (Weeping), they make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools (blessings). They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion.”
(Psalm 84:5-7)

“Blessed is the man whose heart is set on pilgrimage.”

These words stir within me a sweeping visual of a child holding her Father’s hand as they walk together down a dusty road. The sky blankets them with shades of sapphire, interrupted only by the cottony tufts of a passing cloud.

But the journey has been long.

On occasion, the Father carries His child, allowing her to rest against His beating chest. He shields her from the threatening glare of the enemy lurking in the shadows along the path. The Valley of Weeping has been especially harsh. The scorching heat of the sun has, at times, been too much to bear. The child is parched from the lingering dry conditions. Relief for her thirst must come soon, or she fears their odyssey will end before reaching her destination.

But the Father is with the child. She grips His hand a little tighter and draws strength from her faithful Companion.

The landscape around them begins to respond to the Presence of her Father. Clouds gather overhead. A storm is coming but the little one is not frightened – her Father is with her. Rumbles of thunder roar, tentacles of lightening course through the sky.

But the little one is still not frightened – her Father is Present. She presses in a little closer.

The storm unleashes its fury. Her Father carries her once again, shielding her from the piercing drops of rain slung at them by the powerful blasts of wind.

But the little one is still not frightened. Her Father carries her through the storm.

And then it stops as suddenly as it appeared from beyond the horizon. Pools of refreshing water breathe new life into the desolate places.

The child laughs and sings and playfully splashes the puddles of life onto her Father. He lifts her up and spins her around in a joyful dance. She is refreshed, restored…content.

Pilgrimage. A journey of love.

A journey you will not make alone.

Father, the journey is often long and tedious. Sometimes its harsh winds seem relentless. But then you intervene and send refreshing rain. You lift me up and we rejoice together. Lord, You are my faithful Companion. I love You so much. Thank You that, together, we will reach my destination. Because of You, I am never alone.