As 2014 winds down, I’m taking time this week to look back at my blog stats to see what seemed to generate the most traffic. I’ve been blogging for over eight years, and it’s interesting to see which posts continue to generate interest over the years even though they may be ancient in terms of the world wide web.
I’ll be posting a few different lists this week. Here are the ten most popular posts from my blog in 2014, regardless of when they were published:
“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.”Malachi 4:2 (NLT)
It’s always a shock to find out first thing in the morning that a friend has died unexpectedly. I was blessed to share the stage with our friend Sherm and to direct him. He was a sweet spirit and a gentle soul. He was a fellow wayfarer, following Jesus. He shared with us some of his story, and much of it was filled with sadness and many trials. Yet, whenever I worked with or spent time with him he was full of joy.
I read this verse from the prophet Malachi this morning, and was reminded of Sherman. His journey through this earthly life ended this week, but the Sun of Righteousness has just risen at his homecoming. The scars on his soul are healed. I am encouraged to think of him whole, free, and leaping with joy.
Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many years have you lived?” So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.”Genesis 47:8-9 (NASB)
Anyone who reads more than a few of my chapter-a-day posts knows that I regularly speak of life as a sojourn and a journey just as Jacob did with Pharaoh. I’m often asked about the name of my blog, Wayfarer, which simply means “someone on a journey.” In fact, one of the translations I read of the above verses this morning used the world “pilgrimage” instead of “sojourn,” which I also liked.
We are all on a life journey. Life is a sojourn. It is a pilgrimage.
So the questions I regularly ask myself are…
What direction am I headed?
What am I leaving behind?
What am I trying to take with me that I should be letting go?
What is my ultimate destination?
Is there a better road for me to take?
Have I chosen good companions? Do they spur me on or do they hold me back?
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 160,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.” Hosea 2:14 (NLT)
As one who has walked the faith journey for a good long while, I am repeatedly amazed at God’s patience, grace and long suffering with those of us who choose into relationship with Him. I can look back and see so many times that God could have, and perhaps should have, cut me loose and cast me aside. To be honest, there were many times that He gave me freedom to make foolish choices and harvest the consequences of my actions.
Nevertheless, God has always proven faithful. St. Paul wrote to his protege Timothy that even when we are faithless, God is faithful because God cannot disown who He is. Faithfulness is at the core of God’s being. Despite the fact that Israel acted like an unfaithful spouse and even though our own thoughts, motives, and actions show us to be no better, God waits for our return like the Prodigal’s father. When we come to our senses and return, God does not just grudgingly accept us, but woos us with kindness and tenderness. God goes the extra mile to win our hearts back again.
Today, I am humbly reminded of God’s faithfulness to this wandering wayfarer. His kindness leads me once more to repentance, and gratitude, and a renewed commitment to faithfully and lovingly follow.
“But me—who am I, and who are these my people, that we should presume to be giving something to you? Everything comes from you; all we’re doing is giving back what we’ve been given from your generous hand. As far as you’re concerned, we’re homeless, shiftless wanderers like our ancestors, our lives mere shadows, hardly anything to us.” 1 Chronicles 29:14-15 (MSG)
Wendy and I went for a walk the other night. It was a gorgeous summer evening and we opted for a slow, “flip-flop” walk (as opposed to a more serious “tennis shoe” walk). We conversed as we walked and I shared with her some of the feelings I have around the tremendous life shift we’ve experienced in the past year.
We’ve had both girls move out of the house. One of them got married and brought a son-in-law into our family equation. We’ve taken over my parents’ place at the lake and built a house there. We’ve watched Wendy’s younger siblings graduating from medical school, college, and high school. We’ve experience tough economic times and uncertainty about the future. And, we’ve experienced some of our own deep disappointments. It feels like the path has changed, and I’m still trying to get my footing. There are feelings of grief, joy, fear, hope, disappointment, excitement, relief, and regret all churning around inside me.
It was good to read David’s reminder today, and to try to gain some perspective. I am just a wayfarer and a wanderer. My life, my journey, is but a fleeting shadow in the grand scheme of things. All I am and all I’ve been given were from God’s hand in the beginning. I am, step-by-step, making my way home to give it all back.