Ann Farabee: The pilgrims
The days must have felt like an eternity – and they slowly turned into months while sailing on that ship.
They had been willing to make sacrifices in order to travel to a new land. It was a stormy season. Food began to run out. They slept on wooden pallets. No baths. Chamber pots. Seasickness was rampant. The smell onboard was horrendous. Sickness came often – in many forms. The work load was heavy because maintaining and sailing a ship 24 hours a day involved the efforts of everyone.
And the children? Their days and nights probably felt long due to the hardships. But, they helped with work around the ship and took care of younger siblings. They also spent time playing games and running around.
The desire of all their hearts was to attain a new life where they could worship God freely.
We call them the Pilgrims.
And they were on a pilgrimage.
A pilgrim can be defined as one who travels on a long journey. A pilgrimage can be defined as the journey. It is hard to clearly envision their days, because recorded accounts often leave out the heart – but as we know, being in a relationship with the God of the universe includes matters of the heart – like love, dreams, goals, feelings, desire… not the seen, but the unseen.
They were people like us:
Dads wondering if maybe they should not have come.
Moms worrying if the trip was too hard on the children.
Children – sick and hungry – trying to find something to pass the time.
There were even some orphans onboard – who may have felt alone and fearful.
Doubts probably crossed everyone’s mind at times.
And then… perhaps as hope seemed lost – LAND AHOY!
Imagine that moment. The moment they had kept in view in their hearts the entire trip – knowing that it one day would come. Envision them gathering around on deck and staring at that speck of land ahead, watching it appear to grow larger and larger right before their eyes.
They had not belonged on the ship, nor had they felt at home on the ship. In their hearts – they knew they had been strangers and pilgrims who were bound for their permanent dwelling place.
When they reached the shore – they knew. They were HOME. As their feet touched the ground, their emotions plummeted them to their knees as they began to cry out prayers of thanksgiving to God.
Their faith in their God – and sacrifices made – had not only impacted each of them – but impacted generations to come. Worth it.
*Like the pilgrimage of Abraham to the Promised Land.
*Like the pilgrimage of Paul, as he traveled on foot to share the Gospel to the world.
*Like the pilgrimage of Jesus from heaven to earth – so we can go from earth to heaven.
*Like our pilgrimage from our home on earth – to our eternal home in heaven.
Be a pilgrim. Stay on your pilgrimage. It will be worth it.
God promises provision for it.
God provides power for it.
God has a prevailing purpose for it.
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