Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Pilgrimage

"So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son embraced him, and kissed him."  Luke 15:20

Millions of sincere Muslims make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia to be assured that their sins have been forgiven and to fulfill Allah's requirement.

I have gone on a spiritual pilgrimage, too. Maybe the word journey sounds more relevant. My first impressions of God were formed when I was awakened by dawn's call to prayer in Somalia. The cacophony caused me to be afraid of God. I received excellent Biblical instruction growing up. To be obedient to God was firmly engrained in me. Early in life I believed the doctrinal truth about Jesus being my Savior and the One in whom forgiveness is found. When I was 13 years old I became rebellious. Praise God that I began to find power over sin through Jesus. He began to transform and tame my rebellious nature. Over the years my journey has taken me down into spiritual valleys, across lonely deserts, up to the mountain tops and into the rivers of discovering the magnificent beauty of my wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ. The destination of my spiritual journey was not to a city nor a sacred building but to my permanent Home in the heart of God where we commune with each other. The sacrificial blood of Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, washed my sinful heart clean. Now I have assurance that my sins are forgiven. I have peace. Today I feel loved by God. In the meantime my spiritual journey continues to unfold surprises: hearing my name and His gentle whispers, being comforted, experiencing dreams and visions that encourage me on, and witnessing signs and wonders and miracles that have a way of taking my breath away. When I’m stressed out or suffering I feel His nearness and presence. I still have unanswered questions on my journey of faith. I’ve been broken but He’s put me back together a few times. I feel Jesus understands my temptations, failures and weaknesses and helps me with them. I  discovered that as I made my journey towards the heart of God, He had already come to me on the way with outstretched arms.  Indeed He was waiting for me. God made the journey to me!

My journey has taken me from: having fear of God - to obeying rules - to seeing my sinfulness - discovering my Savior - to enjoying fellowship with Him - entering suffering and brokeness - to  spiritual intimacy with God. I am in His heart and He is in my heart. I yearn for my Muslim friends performing their Hajj pilgrimage to meet Jehovah God waiting for them with open arms of love. He meets each of us on our journeys wherever they may take us.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for coming to me. In Jesus' name, Amen.