(Psalm 84 sounds to me like a pastor in prayer. I hope that these thoughts give your prayer life a boost over the next few weeks.) “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.” (Psalm 84:5-6) I have a longing in my soul, O God, a yearning to travel the highway that’s been mapped out in my heart. I long to take that path because I know that you, Lord, planted it there. This has been quite a journey. It’s almost like a pilgrimage since the day when I first heard you call, “Follow me!” This is quite an adventure, with twists and turns I could never have anticipated, and I’m sure glad not to be traveling alone. As I reflect on the journey so far, I recognize the paradox of asking my self almost continually, “How did I get here?” and yet at the same time having the confidence that “your hand is leading me and your love supporting me” every step of the way; when I’ve been aware of your presence and when I haven’t. You work that way often, don’t you, Lord? I can see the destination off in the distant horizon, the splendor of Zion, but a lot of the time I still struggle to recognize the next step. I even wonder sometimes if I have enough strength for today’s leg of the journey. Yet you remain patient with your little sparrow, and I’m reminded that it’s your highway, your journey; I’m only following where you lead. My strength is in you. I am blessed. In the dry and arid places, those times when I’ve been overwhelmed, when I feel far from you, when my family suffers, when the expectations have been too much, you’ve always been along side. I look back to see one oasis following after the next in unexpected places. You provide springs of refreshment, seasonal downpours, pools of blessing to sustain me: a family that pays a price, yet still loves me; a partner to bear the load; a book of wisdom and insight that stirs me on; a welcome movement of your Spirit in an unlikely place; a thank you note that tastes like manna in the wilderness. When I’m thirsty, I come and I drink, and I’m amazed that by your grace streams of living water flow out of me. I’m painfully aware of weakness upon weakness within me, but this journey’s mileposts are your interventions of strength upon strength upon strength along the way. I’m ready to tumble from the sky, but your little sparrow’s strength is renewed like an eagle, because I walk with you and live in you. “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!” (Next week – Psalm 84:8-9) Do you serve in a multiple staff setting in a church, Lutheran school, university or social service ministry? Discover how a Ministry Team Wellness Workshop can help enhance your team ministry by building the unity, spiritual life and communication essential to partnership in ministry. Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman for more information.