Written by Andrew Dyck
Because I’ve always had teachers in my family, at the end of each school year I inevitably daydream of places to go during the summer vacation—fly to Europe, drive to Lake Winnipeg, or walk to Sargent Sundae.
I was a rookie pastor and young father at the start of summer 1997, when Siegbert caught up to me in the church stairway. Siegbert is a seasoned German Baptist minister. He put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and said, “While you’re on vacation, see how you can be a person of reconciliation.”
His comment caught me off guard. I’d been looking forward to R & R after a year of working hard in a new culture and facing financial pressures. Siegbert opened my mind to an unexpected possibility. How might I bring goodness on Jesus’ behalf while I rested and travelled? (As it turned out, our family hosted a family of foreigners who’d been ripped off while in Jasper earlier that summer.)
Of course, many of us have limited travel options—whether because of the pandemic or for other reasons. However, whether you travel or stay home, God invites you to have life-giving highways in your heart.
A Hebrew poet once wrote,
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.
The following definitions may help. ‘Blessed’ also means happy. ‘You’ is the LORD. ‘Heart’ is your inner person. ‘Valley of Baca’ means the valley of weeping or affliction. ‘Zion’ is the city of God—formerly, Jerusalem; but now available everywhere (Hebrews 12:22-24).
I invite you to meditate on these word-pictures with one of the following questions.
- Where do your inner highways lead?
- With God’s help, how can you turn weeping and affliction into wellsprings of life?
- What does it mean for you to travel towards God?
Andrew is the Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality and Pastoral Ministry at Canadian Mennonite University, teaches primarily in CMU’s seminary programs. He and Martha belong to Westwood Community Church and the Winnipeg Imago Dei group.