Wednesday, October 14, 2009

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 is inviting 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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7 comments:

Lutiemom said...

Joy, I feel the same way. Even when I know what He wants me to do, I let fear come in and mess it up.

I've been reading Max Lucado's book "Fearless". A suggestion from the book says to speak out and share our fears to fellow believers. This exposes our fears and we can make them stand before God...our financial fears, relationship fears, professional fears, safety fears, fears of rejection, etc. and stand them before God.

Joy, I love the way you put your thoughts down this morning. Jesus walked into the temple knowing who He was and what He had to do. Sometimes I don't walk like the child of the King; I forget who I am.

Wishing you a very blessed day.
Nancy

JHerald said...

Good Morning Joy! Your words are once again composed so beautifully!! I enjoyed the journey you travelled this morning and as I have been going through this week I have been reflecting on my path and where is my committment in where it is leading. What stands out to me is one word..."resolutely." I will continue reflecting moving toward resolution. Thanks Joy, have a blessed day! Jill

Sheryl said...

Joy,

Thank you for your blog and this post. You were describing me, I am afraid. But, I will join you on the trek to Jerusalem. I will set myself toward the place God is taking me.

Isn't it wonderful that God walks with us?

Sheryl

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I understand.

Today I struggle with my follow-through, Joy. There have been many days like this as of late. I suppose the depth of the dense fog keeps me from celebrating the eventual break through, but like the ancients of Hebrews 11, I know it's coming. I cling to that hope with all the strength I can muster, and I keep pressing into the confusion, believing that my obedience will land me into the spacious abundance of Canaan.

In many ways, this is Canaan too. Being able to traverse the unseen with all the confidence of heaven to buoy my steps. This is Canaan, is it not? This is perseverance. This is the great "follow-through" of our faith journey. The very thing that God is calling me to write about, yet the very thing he's forcing me to walk even as I write!

He sure has a way of proving his point... of making sure that his objective is not only finding its way into words, but most importantly, into my heart.

I'm with you friend, wherever the journey is leading. The fog is better walked with companions, and I, for one, have got your hands. Together with our Lord, we'll forge this path until we break through to glory. You are my good, kindred friend, and even though we're miles apart, we're close in spirit.

I'm not around in blog land this week, but felt led to head over here for some friendship. Knew I'd find it in you.

Thanks.

peace~elaine

~Grace and Peace said...

Upon reading your post my thoughts immediately went to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. I know they were going the other way. They were leaving their Jerusalem.

You remember, Jesus joined them and asked why they were sad. They told him all about the things that happened there. Luke 24:16 tells us their eyes were restrained and they did not know Him. (So it is possible for us to know all about Him, yet not know Him.)

But you know what gives me comfort and hope? That Jesus did not abandon them. He continued walking with them. Can't you just picture Him explaning the scriptures to them - in that gentle manner of His?

Then after the breaking of the bread, they recognized him. (Finally! But sometimes we can be blind, too, right?) Luke tells us in verse 33, "They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem."

May the Lord walk with you on whatever road you are traversing, dear Joy. And may He minister to your heart that you find yourself just like the two and return at once to your Jerusalem.

On Purpose said...

Friend as I 'read' your emotions on this blog...I just have to be bold and say...you are so where He needs you to be...'insecure, frightened, overwhelmed' for we you feel weak then He can be the Strength!

I love you friend!

lisasmith said...

Joy,

What a wonderful and encouraging word! I've missed you and am looking forward to getting caught up a little :)

prayers, lisa