Reflections of a Pilgrim
Scripture Reading — Genesis 47:5-12
“My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” — Genesis 47:9
An old folk-hymn proclaims, “I am a poor wayfaring stranger, while traveling through this world of woe. . . .” As Jacob settles once again in a place where he doesn’t really belong, he has the opportunity to reflect on how his whole life has been a sort of journey—a journey made difficult at times by the effects of his own sins and his desire to manipulate his way into God’s blessing.
Many of us could offer a similar assessment of our lives. Like Jacob, we want to make things work out our way. Like him, our self-centeredness and sin complicate our walk with God and others.
But God remains faithful. God isn’t most interested in Jacob’s geographic location. As the patriarch looks back, he begins to see that his life has been a pilgrimage, a series of temporary stops that have led him more deeply into God’s grace. This humility gives Jacob the ability to bless others in a way that he was not able to do when he lived mainly for himself.
Where is God leading you? When you look around at this “world of woe,” look also for ways in which God has used difficulties to make his work in you clearer. And give thanks that all who humbly journey with Christ can look forward to their true home with him, received by grace.
In the hymn “Amazing Grace” we sing, “Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come.” Your grace, O God, is the only reason we have come safely thus far; thank you for your promised grace to lead us home. In Jesus, Amen.