Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Setting out for Jerusalem

"As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem."
Luke 9:51

I read this verse earlier today and my heart was saddened. You see, I know from reading the rest of the story that Jesus made it to His destination. He didn't just 'set out', He arrived. Jerusalem for Jesus meant persecution and death, yet He was determined to go there. He set out resolutely and didn't change course. He didn't give up. He didn't surrender, withdraw or retreat. He had a mission and He fulfilled it.

My heart was saddened because of how often I have 'resolutely set out' on a new task only to find myself abandon the desire along the way. God's call is clear and my resolve is strong, but as I travel to my "Jerusalem" I face roadblocks and detours. Fear. Insecurity. Failure. Disappointment. Judgement. Doubt. Peer pressure. The assurance I knew at the start of the journey has waned and I'm questioning whether I even heard His voice at all.

I look back at others who responded. Fisherman who dropped their nets immediately to follow. A young man named Daniel who 'resolutely' bowed on his knees before an open window unafraid. Three who entered a fiery furnace without turning back. The names recorded in the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews who didn't waver but stood firm in their following.

I too start out with passion and excitement and then the pain that accompanies "Jerusalem" begins to accuse, ridicule and hurt. Arriving in "Jerusalem" means going the distance. It demands hard work. A "Jerusalem" road always insists upon sacrifice. It means braving the struggles that will appear along the way. It requires committing my heart to the destination and not giving up.

This morning God has called me to 'pack my bags' and begin a trek in answer to His call. The road ahead looks long. Rejection is inevitable. Hardship is certain. Yet, for the joy set before me... What joy? The joy of knowing I'm walking in obedience. The joy of shadowing footsteps that are trustworthy to follow. The joy of knowing I don't begin this venture alone.

Lord I'm frightened. Frightened of looking foolish by others. Frightened of starting a journey I feel so inadequate to finish. Afraid that a big 'incomplete' will be stamped across my attempts and I'll fail You again. Father, this time, with Your help, let me reach the "Jerusalem" You have chosen for me.

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6

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elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Love this.

Know this, friend, I'm walking it with you. So if they call you "foolish" they call me foolish too. It's my privilege to be yoked with the likes of you and your obedience.

How I thank my God upon my every remembrance of you!


On Purpose said...

You are SO bringing a great big HUGE smile to His face today. For your obedience warms His heart. He loves you Joy!

Praying with you as you are on your journey...knowing you will get closer to His heart.

HIS Daughter said...

Whatever HE has called you to do, remember "HE who began that good work in you, will carry it on to completion."

Joy, no matter if the task is great or small, each step towards "Jerusalem" is another step towards a "long obedience in the right direction".

I have to keep reminding myself that if HE is in charge and HIS will for my life is being accomplished, then even when it seems I've been detoured, it can and will be for HIS ultimate glory.

I cried in sickness the other day that I wanted to do great things for HIM and here I am, not moving forward once again. HIS voice was quiet, yet unmistakeable "Glorify me and enjoy me".

Whatever we do, do it as unto the LORD and let HIM be glorified.

Remember when we think we aren't getting it right, it may be we never know what we have done.

Paul felt almost forsaken and HIS work over as HE penned by the inspiration of the HOLY SPIRIT some of the most inspiring words of his life.

HE is your strength. You will perservere through the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember when HE called you, HE already knew your weaknesses. HE still chose us as HIS daughters because through our weakness, HE alone is glorified.

Praying blessings,

Lynn Cowell said...

I think the thing that pulls us down or even away from our journey is when the road doesn't look like what we expected or want. A long time ago, I heard the saying, "The joy is IN the journey". Sometimes the joy is not so evident, but I can see as I looked back from where I have come since I have started a similar journey, that Lynn is different. Maybe that in itself is the purpose of it.
Walking with you,

Sarah said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog today and for your prayers! What a testimony to know that you are a "Baby A" at 25 weeks--a true miracle. Thank you for sharing about your friend too; I know there are a lot of babies playing in heaven and we can't wait to join them!

Cindy said...

I will be praying for you as you embark on this new journey. New journeys to destinations unknown are a little scary but I know God won't ask us to do what He is not willing to do through us.
I too embark on a new journey. I have been a women's pastor but I am at a new church, with new faces and new expectations toward me. On the 16th I will host my first event as the new WM director at our new church. Sometimes 'fear' tries to sneak in but I must remember scripture. GOD did not give me a spirit of fear!
Trust that HE has called you and HE will go with you.
Looking forward to hearing the great things He has chosen for your life.
Blessings, Cindy

Genny said...

Your writing is so honest and touching. And true...many times I've started out determined to do something too...be more patient, pray more...and then I stumble. Thanks for the encouragement!

Thanks also for your beautiful comment today and sharing the story of your parents!

ThreeGirlyGirls said...

So identifying with the way you described this in my heart today!! Wow!

I loved this!

whatloknows said...

(in case you stopped by recently, my blog is now back to public viewing after it being down for a week)