Dispatches: Who Are You Walking With?

Jeff and Shelley are on a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in Spain for a couple weeks! We’re excited to be able to share updates about their journey, what they experience, and what God shows them on their adventure.

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1: 6-7

Joy and sorrow; ease and hardship. God is always in both because He is always with us. Am I open to experiencing his presence always, or only in the mountaintop moments?

It was a challenging day on the Camino, aka “the Way,” going up and down hills, struggling through a hot afternoon. Yet God is with me, if I will guide my soul to a place of awareness. I have to look up and around, not just at the trail in front of my feet.

When I look up, I look beyond my self. I see past my selfishness, past the part that just wants to focus on how things are affecting me.

When I looked up, I saw beauty, stillness, and the rhythm  of nature. I saw God at work all around me. My heart rejoiced, simply saying, “Thanks, God – you do good work.”

I also saw people. On the Camino, you call yourself and others pilgrims. Were they what God wanted me to see? We travel with 100+ people, crossing paths time and again as different groups stop at different places. At those stops, we hear the stories of the different reasons people are here. The common theme is a searching.

At times we walk in small groups; other times we walk in quiet solitude. Shelley and I fall into a comfortable quietness as we walk together, each giving the other space to just be as we journey.

I think of all the great gifts of friends God has given me. They’re like “the Way:” sometimes we are in large groups enjoying the time together, other times we form small groups or just share the journey one-on-one. Sometimes I walk alone – oh, I have friends, and a community, but I sometimes haves stretches where just I walk solo.

I believe the genuineness of our faith is strongly revealed in how we treat others, through joy and sorrow, ease and hardship. We are created by God to walk together. It is what God is teaching me about living with open arms – I want to be open to the people around me, to be used of God to show love, grace and value. I have a long way to go, but that’s okay – Jesus walks with me.

-Jeff

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