Pilgrimage by Lynne Austin
When it showed up in the list of books available for review, I jumped on it. A nonfiction book by one of my favorite authors? I couldn’t wait to start reading it.
Pilgrimage is subtitled: My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked. I was excited to see what Ms. Austin learned while spending time in the same places Jesus lived.
The book started off a bit slow but quickly became more interesting. Austin shares a very personal experience of how God spoke to her through her Bible reading, providing her with a text that was so applicable to her current situation that it seemed as if God Himself had written it in a letter addressed to her. When trying to determine if a trip to Israel was within God’s will for her life, she read the following text. “Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end” (Psalm 48, quoted on page 80).
When I read of this life experience, I felt reassured by God. When we were trying to determine if adoption is God’s plan for us, God placed a text in front of me that spoke just as clearly as in Austin’s prayer for direction. It was awe-inspiring to watch God work.
The book taught me a few facts that I did not know. For instance, in the chapter titled Holy Week, Austin talks about the different feasts and celebrations. She writes, “the Feast of Firstfruits is always celebrated on a Sunday, regardless of which day Passover and Unleavened Bread happen to fall. Since Passover is decided by the phases of the moon, the three feasts rarely occur on three consecutive days. But in God’s perfect timing, in the year that Christ was crucified, they did. Such precision helps me trust His timing in my own life” (page 150). God’s timing is always amazing!
In the chapter titled Galilee, Austin writes about the Great Commission. She writes, “we are supposed to go out into the world, not wait for the world to come to us, even if God has to turn our comfortable lives upside down to get us to do it. I’m told that in the original Greek language, the wording of Jesus’ Great Commission reads: “As you are going into the world… make disciples.” Jesus assumes that we will be going; His orders are to make disciples along the way” (pages 183-184). I don’t know Greek, so I cannot verify her interpretation, but it’s an interesting thought and one that I am still pondering.
There was one more section that really resonated with me, the chapter called Sabbath Rest. I am very honest about the fact that I am a Sabbath keeper. It’s a big part of my religious beliefs and I find the Sabbath incredibly important. While in Israel, Austin also had a realization of the importance of the Sabbath. She writes:
On the Sabbath we remember to rest on God, trusting Him for all of our practical needs such as our daily bread and for strength in our trials. The Sabbath helps us to remember to trust in God, trusting Him for our salvation, knowing that none of the work we do will ever gain us entrance into heaven. And it helps us to remember to rest for God, because when we organize our lives and our work around a special day to honor Him, He is glorified. Can you imagine what a witness we would be to a restless, exhausted world if Christians set apart the Sabbath as holy, making it different from our ordinary days?
I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to read and review this book. Many thanks to Bethany House for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. All thoughts are my own.
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