I couldn’t resist digging up this old blog from several years ago to repost, because it meshes so much with the way our meandering has moved…


We think of our spiritual progress as a straight line.

Not so.


For me anyway.

Yes, I know, our moral walk should turn neither left nor right off God’s way, but I’m thinking of another facet of Christian life: our growth…

I was in an emotional pit, trying—still, even at my age—to get my bearings, God’s direction. It seemed all I ever did was go around in circles, like some poor ignoramus lost in the woods.

I took the issue to God, wrestled with it, with my thinking, so stuck in its negative groove.

“Stuck in a groove” pictures a record with a crack or scratch making it repeat the same sequence, over and over, as it goes ‘round and ’round. However, a phonograph needle ordinarily makes continual forward progress through a song by going around and around. I failed to consider that, stuck as I was.

I drew a ragged spiral, representing my walk—and sighed.

But then, a word, an image came into my mind,


A helix goes continually around—but simultaneously progresses upwards.

With that insight, I cut on the lines I’d drawn, lifted their center point upward…

and suddenly I saw my path toward God! Like a vine wrapping a pole or tree—or cross—around and around, reaching, growing, ever upward, toward the light.

And I wondered, was Jacob’s ladder a helix, a spiral staircase? Could be. I was now assured my ladder was, anyhow.

I recalled a former pastor’s frequent urging us “Higher up and further in” to God’s Kingdom. I was now seeing the helix of his principle.

Yes! Constantly moving higher up the spiral ladder, ever further into Kingdom life,

That is my Christian pilgrimage!

After all, which does God care about more: My choice of straight line paths between earthly points (as, job or geographical move A to B, A to C, A to D…) or whether I move steadily upward, nearer Him and His kingdom?

The mountain of the Lord is very steep. A cliff? The only way to its summit (for a shaky climber like me) is a path that clings to the mountainside as it continually rises, around and around, ever aimed toward the apex in God.

Paul pursued this ever-onward and upward path with a passion. “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phl 3:14)—the aim toward which he told the Colossians to focus: above, where our lives “are now hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:1-3).

I don’t feel so bad now about going around in circles in morally neutral decision making, as long as I’m aiming right up toward God Himself, spiraling ever higher “to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me,” and not spiraling into self by the ever-moving introspection that swirls down and down into darkness—or lies flat dead, without dimension, life, aspiration.

So… onward and upward, around and around, heavenward, toward God, clinging to the Christ and His cross.


For a set of links to all the other posts in the “Meandering Forward” series, go to this page, which will be updated as new posts appear in the blog content.


4 thoughts on “Pilgrimage, in Circles?

  1. I love this post. and I did before, but needed that reminder. Here’s a few thoughts it provoked: 1.The devil would have us scared looking down through the center, dizzy, fearful and unsure.
    2. A Helix, DNA, logarithms, Archimedes and Galileo, why not Jacob’s ladder….that would be like our Father Creator– that is a good picture. Look up images of spirals in nature–amazing.
    3. Also a good reminder of how high up the Father is…..and yet…just like His view of time is not as ours, His view is more like that flat version and sees us as one with Christ already. He is with us whether flat or steep.
    love how you start me thinking.

  2. Love this! So often we feel like we’re going in circles, but if we circling up (by God’s grace), it really is progress closer to Him.

    1. I find a lot of comfort in this thought, because I do seem so often to be going in circles. The important point, as both you and Laurie mention, is whether those circles rise toward Him or descend away from Him. Thanks for commenting, Lynn!

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