Hard to imagine I’ve completed about 281 km (close to 175 miles). I’m taking a break in the beautiful city of burgos. From here, the gentle fields of wheat and vineyards transform into a lengthy flatland called the meseta.
Health-wise, I actually feel the best I have during the whole Camino. The little Camino cold I caught in the beginning is all but gone, and my shin splints are no longer bothering me. Not to say I’m not tired- there are new aches now that have come with 2 weeks straight of walking- the joint in my right big toe is tired from bending so much, my back a little sore… Yesterday upon arriving in Burgos, I just collapsed on my hotel bed and didn’t get up for 2.5-3 hours haha.
This is a jubilee year, so the Camino has a record number of pilgrims this year. It’s got me thinking about my conversations with God lately- before the Camino, at a retreat, I had a powerful conviction that I have stopped fighting with God. “But God, I’ve become more mature than the angry daniel that bickered with You. I don’t stick middle fingers at You anymore. I trust You…”
“…Daniel, if you really did trust me, You would remember that I can handle it… Plus, don’t you remember that it was that angry Daniel that I pursued all those college years? So let’s do it, Daniel. Let’s fight. Come at me, bro.”
Ha. “Come at me bro.” I never knew God could be a brodouche.
So me and God have been having some healthy bickering as I have been walking long distances by myself.
It’s been great- but today, reflecting on the nature of debt-releasing in the spirit of jubilee, His voice whispered to me as I watched the rain in Burgos, “Are you ready to release some of the debts you’ve held against Me?”
My stomach turned, and I felt a mental wall in front of me.
I have followed God and obeyed Him in crazy ways in the last 9 years of ministry, and maybe before my time in ministry. And after moving to the edges of society to obey His call, of having to walk students through the shit of life, of having to attend too many fucking funerals, of having to feel alone in all those moments… I realized boiling beneath the surface was a resentment and a feeling that God owed me something- an easier path, a life partner, a stable group of friends…
…I had begun to operate out of deals and debts with God- “I’m not going to move or take another risk until You provide me these things in life”.
…And the verse from the end of the parable of the prodigal son of the father speaking to the older son echoed in my head, as it has been since I began my sabbatical, “Everything I have is your’s…”
It’s an offer that isn’t with strings attached, with debt in mind or entitlement of work… It is simply the free gift of grace. And I have turned grace into burden, into a debt owed to me.
As I start on the meseta tomorrow, there is an invitation from God for me to start releasing those debts off of Him. In all honesty, I don’t know if I can do it, it feels more impossible than walking the remaining 500 km. But maybe it’s not a matter of ending my bargaining with God, it’s more that He thinks I should be bargaining for more- not a spouse, not a community, not an easier ministry and not a stable life or a house… But to take a page from Moses’s book and demand that His Glory go with me.
God, restore in me a hunger and thirst for Your presence, Your face, Your Glory.