Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Those Who Sojourn With Us

"Hear my prayer, O Lord, and listen to my cry; do not be silent at my tears; for I am Your temporary guest, a sojourner like all my fathers. O look away from me, that I may smile and again know joy before I depart and am no more." Psalm 39:12,13 (Amplified Version - emphasis mine)

At the end and beginning of a year, I find that I am even more contemplative than I normally am, and I do a lot of deep thinking and mentally assess a lot of things about my current life. This January is no different. In fact, the older I get, the more sober-minded I become, as I realize another year of life has now been stored in the history books, never to be relived or altered. (Since the time I started this post, many days have passed, and now, here I find almost one full month of the new year has already passed!)

How serious this gift called life! Every day we are given is more precious than we could ever imagine. Every breath is invaluable. So many began 2021 never dreaming they would not live to see the beginning of 2022. How blessed we are to still be here, alive and breathing, and offered a new opportunity to fulfill the purpose God had in mind when He placed us here. It all goes by so fast, and I do not want to fail Him or waste one minute!

As I sought His face this morning, He began to bring to mind the countless people He has orchestrated to walk alongside me on life's highway ~ sojourners.

Some of them have been with me since the moment of my birth. They have known me always, and they are still a vital part of my life. Others were there from the moment of my birth, but have been called home ahead of me to reap their eternal reward. Others have been brought into my life, at various junctures, and remain an integral part of my life to this day. Still, others came into my life at so many points, walked the path with me temporarily, and for a plethora of reasons, though we both still live and breathe, they walk beside me no longer. 

Those who sojourn with us ~ what a thing to contemplate!

"Sojourner ~ original Greek is parepídēmos – a sojourner (foreigner) – literally, someone "passing through" but still with personal relationship with the people in that locale (note the prefix, para, "close beside"). This temporary (but active) relationship is made necessary by circumstances." Source

As children of the Most High God, nothing that transpires in our lives happens by accident. No one is brought into our lives by mistake. There is a God in heaven Who knows us intimately and Who is coordinating every encounter, every relationship, every pairing of sojourners. We are all His "temporary guests, sojourners like all our fathers." They have lived out all their days on earth, and now they live no more. So, it will be with each of us. We are now suspended in that "dash" between the date of our birth and the date of our death.

There is a reason He gave each of us the parents, spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, friends, acquaintances, pastor, co-workers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, neighbors, loved ones, teachers, and bosses that are sojourning with us. And, there is even a reason He orchestrates the countless casual encounters we experience while walking through life. 

There is a Divine reason you are alive right now ~ at the same time the ones who sojourn with you are alive.

You may think that some of these relationships happen by chance or even by mistake. I absolutely beg to differ. 

"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though He needed any thing, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being." Acts 17:24-28

God planned your life, determined your times, and even planned where you would live while sojourning on this earth!

"Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me when as yet there were none of them." Psalm 139:16 (NKJV)

The New Living Translation says, "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." 

So before we breathed our first breath of life, before one person was brought into our lives, before we lived out one of our days on earth, God had them all recorded in His book ~ as if we had already lived them! The future, so uncertain and sometimes overwhelmingly daunting to us, is as known as the past to God.  

Do you see how nothing in your life has been left to chance? 

And just as nothing in your life has been left to chance, the same applies to those who sojourn with you. Just as God has orchestrated that they sojourn with you, there is a reason you have been placed in their lives to sojourn with them

Sometimes we can all become so self-focused in our thinking, always considering why things are happening to us, why we are destined to walk certain paths, why certain people sojourn with us, etc. Perhaps it is time to start thinking about why God placed us in their lives and how we can better fulfill His purpose working through us — to encourage them, uplift them, guide them, and point them to the cross of Jesus, not so much through our words, but through the way we live like Him, love them, are patient with them, have genuine compassion for them, and put their needs and wants before our own.

At the end of this first month of this brand-new year, I have a 28-day challenge to present to you for the upcoming month of February. An exercise that I hope will strengthen bonds, deepen relationships, diffuse tension, bring edification, and enhance not only your lives but the lives of those who sojourn with you.

This is how it works. 
1. Take out a tablet of paper and pen. I don't recommend doing this digitally. I learned during my career in banking that pieces of paper with hand-written notes are far less likely to be thrown away or ignored. So, my suggestion is to do this the old-fashioned way - write it in your own handwriting and keep it in a place that you will be forced to look at every single day. Somewhere obvious, like in your devotions spot, on your kitchen table, near the area you do meal prep, next to the place you brush your teeth, etc. Just make sure it is where it will stare you in the face and demand your daily attention.

2. Without overthinking this at all, write down a list of names of 28 people in your life. Don't stress over any particular order. Don't go back and re-do it later. Don't move people's names around. Just write down 28 names that instantly come to mind as you mentally recall the people who sojourn with you. God already knows what order your names should be recorded on your list. He sees the end from the beginning and everywhere in between every single detail of our daily lives. (If you are having a hard time coming up with 28 people, broaden your horizons. Think beyond those who live in your home, work with you, or go to church with you. Think about some casual sojourners - perhaps a favorite grocery store cashier, a military veteran, an active duty soldier, a police officer, fireman, paramedic, your mail carrier, a faraway friend, your family doctor, dentist, nurse, an elderly shut-in, nursing home resident, etc.)

3. On February 1st, focus on the name on line #1 on your list. On February 2nd, focus on the name on line #2. On February 3rd, focus on the name on line #3. You get the picture.

4. Each day, as you focus on that one special person's name, pray for that person all throughout the day. Every time you look at the list, earnestly pray for them. 

5. Then take it a step farther - do something special for that person on the day their name is on your list. It may or may not cost anything monetarily, but the thought is what is important. Here are some ideas:

If they live in your house, this will be easy. 

Bake a special dessert, if you are able. 
Cook a favorite meal. 
Do a dreaded chore for them. 
Sit down and have a heart-to-heart chat. Tell them how much you love them, take their emotional pulse, ask them if there is anything pressing on their heart they would especially like you to pray about, encourage them, express your appreciation of them, hug them tightly.

If they do not live with you, here are some suggestions:

Write out a hand-written note or letter, telling them how much they mean to you, how grateful you are that they "sojourn" with you — that you are both alive at the same time and God has placed you in each other's lives, complimenting them on their strengths, expressing how proud you are of them, telling them you are praying for them.
Include a gift card with your hand-written letter, if you are able.
Text something as simple as "I love you" or "I appreciate you" or "Thank you for being a part of my life" or "Thank you for your service."
Call them on the phone. Don't rush. Listen. Slow down.
Have pizza delivered to them - it is so easy to do this now online. Just schedule a pizza or two to be delivered to them at the time you know they will be ready to eat supper. Or if you know their favorite local pizza parlor and it can't be done online, call in the order.
Send them flowers. Again, so easy to do this online.
Email a sweet note "just because" you are thinking of them.
Email them a digital gift certificate for their favorite online shop.
Visit them in person, if possible. There's nothing like a face-to-face encouraging visit, and your prayers and time are the very best gifts of all.

At the end of 28 days, you will have blessed 28 sojourners! Again, this doesn't have to cost anything, monetarily. I am sure all of you can think of countless more ways to bless the people in your lives, many of which do not cost a penny. Why not share your amazing ideas in the comments below? I would love to read them, and I'm sure other readers would, too.

Think about your life and the people in it and embrace the reality that God has planned it all to the finest detail ~ including the ones who sojourn with you.

God bless you all!
If you need prayer or want to get in touch, always feel free to email us by clicking on my name in the "About" section in the right sidebar, then clicking on "Email" under "Contact Me."

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And if you're bored and want to ~ check out my cover of Gillian Welch's song, "Orphan Girl." And while you're there, be sure to leave us a comment and subscribe to Mountain Hope Band's YouTube Channel!

We truly appreciate your support!

And always ask yourself ~


  1. Awwwww I enjoyed listening to your sweet voice singing Orphan Girl.
    This is a great idea, Cheryl. I did something similar during Advent and sent all my kids a special card telling them a message. At first I wondered if we should write down those in our lives who have passed away, but after reading the whole post, I realized it should be names of people who are sojourners in this life with us NOW. Thank you for this idea of ways we can bless others, even with just a note of love.
    God bless you and your family.

    1. Thank you so much, dear Kitty! I love your idea of doing things during Advent! I can only imagine how much your kids appreciated your sweet cards. May God richly bless you, my friend.

  2. What a beautiful thought you have shared Cheryl, and I think this is a wonderful challenge! How wonderful it would be to bless those you love and cherish in your life by doing something special for them! I am up for the challenge! I think it will be such a blessing to those that we love.

    My husband's aunt recently passed away. We traveled out of our way at Thanksgiving to go see her, and visit with her for a couple of hours. The smile on her face was so precious. It was such a sweet time that we had! We knew she didn't have long to live, and I'm glad we got to love on her, and be with her before she died. Most of the rest of the family did go to her funeral, we couldn't as we live so far away. But we were so glad we spent the time with her while she was alive.

    I think this challenge is similar. We just don't know when our loved ones will draw their last breath. How wonderful to have participated in this challenge, and to know that you shared with each one what they mean to you. Blessings to you Cheryl, may the Lord greatly bless your ministry for His kingdom, and the beautiful music that you are playing!

    1. Thank you so much, dear friend! I am so happy you are joining in on the challenge! Oh, that was such a sweet, sad story about your husband's aunt. You are so right - we don't know how much time anyone has left, and it pays to mind God's nudges when He brings someone to our heart and mind. I aso appreciate your kind words and trust the Lord will richly bless you, too!

  3. This is such a beautiful challenge, Cheryl. Let me tell you, I am blessed so very much to sojourn through this life with you! May God bless you all your days.

    1. Oh, I surely feel the same way about you, sweet friend! I am so thankful we are sojourners together! Praying much for you and Tom and believing God to bring miracles and sending much love and hugs your way!

  4. Cheryl,
    Thanks so much for stopping by today and for your very sweet comment!! I truly appreciate you taking the time to do so...I am so glad that you did because I truly enjoyed this post...I am a firm believer in the saying that "what is written in your book, is already written" and I truly do believe that everything happens for a reason...I wrote down my 28 names and hope to do the exercise that you have suggested...I think it is a great exercise in showing Gratitude ( my Word of the year for last year) and Thankfulness, which is my theme of the year for this year and there is a difference between the 2 words...I will be stopping in again!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

    1. Debbie, thank you SO much for your sweet visit and kind words! They were such a blessing and encouragement to me! I love the quote you shared about "what is written in your book, is already written." Wow! I want to remember that. I am so thankful you are joining in the challenge. I started mine and am so looking forward to letting 28 people know how much they mean to me. That is such an interesting thought about the difference between gratitude and thankfulness. I am going to go subscribe to your blog so I don't miss your posts. It was so wonderful to meet you! God bless you!

  5. What a lovely idea, and one I will try to do. :) This post is just what I needed to be reminded of today. Thank you for sharing. ❤️

    1. Thank you so much, Ashley! It was so nice to hear from you today. God bless you, my friend!

  6. This is a fantastic idea, Cheryl, and I think I'm going to take you up on it this year. There are so many fellow sojourners in our lives, and none are there by chance. God has orchestrated all and blessed us through each one.
    I did check to see that I was still subscribed here, and I am, so I'm not sure what's going on with not being notified of new posts. I'll just make a note to check back with you frequently, my friend, or feel free to mention in the comments on my blog that you have a new entry. Love spending time with you!

    1. Thank you, Martha! It was so wonderful to see you here again! I don't know what is going on with my blog. Subscribers are not being notified when I publish a new post, some can't comment anymore, and bloggers' blog list are not being updated. I have tried and tried to figure it out, and I was finally able to get the issue resolved where the emails are going to email subscribers again, but if subscribers are subscribed any other way, they don't seem to be getting notified. It has been quite frustrating, to say the least. God bless you for stopping by and leaving such sweet encouragement behind. I hope you are continuing to feel well!

  7. Very special words are written here, thank you.

    I hope the February days brings you much goodness.


    1. Aw, thank you so much for your kind words! I hope the same for you, Sheri. God bless you!

  8. listening to your music even as i type away here. i am so happy that the Lord is opening these doors for you, friend!

    1. Dear, sweet friend, your words are such a blessing to me! I am so grateful for your support and encouragement. God bless you!

  9. Hello Sweet Friend, I love how you framed sojourners here in this post. That we as brothers and sisters in the Lord are sojourning together for the Glory of God. A sweet fellowship indeed! Thank you for spurring us on with this challenge.

    BTW. I attempted to post a comment when this post went live, but then it wouldn't let me and everything I typed disappeared. Unfortunately, with how busy my life is, I had a small window that day, and I didn't get around to re-commenting until now. :-(

    Sending you much love,

    1. My dear friend, how I appreciate your kind words and encouragement! I am SO sorry you had trouble commenting. There are so many issues with my blog right now - I can't figure out what is going on. My posts are not showing up in bloggers' feeds, there are problems with comments not going through, and I've had issues with the RSS feed not updating, etc. I SO appreciate you persevering and coming back to leave this sweet comment. I am praying the Lord will help me know how to get everything fixed. It is so frustrating and discouraging! I am thinking of you often, praying for you and your family, and sending much love back to you. God bless you!

  10. Cheryl, I am so sorry I am behind in reading this wonderful post. This is an excellent challenge and I can start today. You shared so many ideas to carry out this sojourner challenge. Thank you and may God bless you, my friend!

    1. Thank you ever so much for your sweet comment and kind words, dear friend! I am so thankful you are joining me on this sojourner challenge. May God bless you and your family always!