When I was given the choice to either remain in Malaysia or come to the UK to pursue my postgraduate studies, I faced a really difficult decision. Standing at the crossroads I had to choose between staying where I had a good solid thing going on, or stepping out of my comfort zone towards a new beginning. I didn’t quite know what to do in life and there weren’t exactly big, bright neon signs to give directions! The Sunday before I left home, a friend prayed over me and said the following, “Whereever you go, you are a pilgrim and God is with you”.
The truth is, stepping out of your comfort zone is never easy. But it’s in walking beyond the shoreline of where we feel safe and into the unknown ocean beyond where a form of pilgrimage can begin. There, in unfamiliar territory, our pilgrimage is found in the everyday life. It’s found in seeking Him when the sun rises and when the sun sets; in the conversations with the lady behind the till as you pay for three packets of jam doughnuts (my addiction to jam doughnuts is a serious thing); in the greetings with those who work hard to keep the roads and pavements clean.
“And Your presence, is the promise,
for I am a pilgrim on this journey”
(Shepherd, Bethel Music).
Whenever my soul needs rest, I find myself walking by the shore, taking comfort in the crashing of waves and howling winds that come with the monsoon season in Malaysia. In the UK, I especially adore walks in the woods where you hear the birds singing melodies above your head and there is sun and the gentle breeze of wind. It’s in moments like these where I am reminded that God’s presence is always near us, guiding us in the journey ahead no matter where we are or where we may be going.
It’s taken me some time to understand that my life is one with a purpose. Therefore, even this pilgrimage of leaving home in Malaysia and creating home in the UK has been a spiritual journey of deepening my faith and growing closer to God. Dependency on Him became a necessity, and sharing life with others became a beautiful way of expressing God’s love for all of us.
So, whether your pilgrimage is a thousand miles or a hundred steps, walk that journey knowing that God is with you, beside you every step of the way. Walk it with humility before Christ, in prayer and in daily devotion to Him. Walk it in the laughter you share among friends, in the cups of tea with colleagues and in the sharing of life with those you have yet to meet. Serve one another and journey with others, just as Christ does with us.
Written by Miriam Samuel, a member of SCM Lancaster.