Sojourn: Answering the Call
I Chronicles 29:15
“For we are strangers before You and sojourners, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope or expectation of remaining.”
This scripture is from King David’s prayer after receiving an offering for the building of the Lord’s House by his son Solomon. David had a dream in his heart to build a place for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to dwell (Psalm 132). The Lord told King David that his son, Solomon, would fulfill this dream because David was a man of war and this assignment was holy. A nation whose forefather Abraham left his kin and traveled to a foreign land because he believed the promise of God. Now his descendant is reminded of this during a time when he is faithfully acting in response to a promise as well. This scripture is also suggested as the very one that inspired Isabelle Baumfree to name herself Sojourner Truth.
Here is an excerpt from her edited book The Narrative of Sojourner Truth taken from an online source:
Her next decision was, that she must leave the city; it was no place for her; yea, she felt called in spirit to leave it, and to travel east and lecture. She had never been further east than the city, neither had she any friends there of whom she had particular reason to expect any thing; yet to her it was plain that her mission lay in the east, and that
she would find friends there. She determined on leaving; but these determinations and convictions she kept close locked in her own breast, knowing that if her children and friends were aware of it, they would make such an ado about it as would render it very unpleasant, if not distressing to all parties. Having made what preparations for leaving she deemed necessary,–which was, to put up a few articles of clothing in a pillow-case, all else being deemed an unnecessary incumbrance,–about an hour before she left, she informed Mrs. Whiting, the woman of the house where she was stopping, that her name was no longer Isabella, but SOJOURNER, and that she was going east. And to her inquiry, ‘What are you going east for?’ her answer was, ‘The Spirit calls me there, and I must go.’
She left the city on the morning of the 1st of June, 1843, crossing over to Brooklyn, L.I.; and taking the rising sun for her only compass and guide, she ‘remembered Lot’s wife,’ and hoping to avoid her fate, she resolved not to look back till she felt sure the wicked city from which she was fleeing was left too far behind to be visible in the distance; and when she first ventured to look back, she could just discern the blue cloud of smoke that hung over it, and she thanked the Lord that she was thus far removed from what seemed to her a second Sodom.
She was now fairly started on her pilgrimage; her bundle in one hand, and a little basket of provisions in the other, and two York shillings in her purse–her heart strong in the faith that her true work lay before her, and that the Lord was her director; and she doubted not he would provide for and protect her, and that it would be very censurable in her to burden herself with any thing more than a moderate supply for her then present needs.
On February 19th I was at the computer and I began to think about Sojourner Truth. I just googled her and read from Wikipedia. I concede that this is not the best online resource for information but I did read the entire article. I already knew a little about her from previous studies but I found out that Isabella Baumfree changed her name to Sojourner Truth on June 1, 1843. This intrigued me because my birthday is June 1. I pondered it for a few minutes trying to discover exactly why the Lord had brought this to my attention but then I decided to leave it alone.
Later that day I read the email from Peg about our topic for the next blog: SOJOURN. When I read the email, which she said she had originally sent on the 8th of February…I didn’t know what to think. Why didn’t the first email arrive? Why did she decide to send it again on the 19th and why had I just looked up Sojourner Truth that morning? I decided to leave it alone.
Today on the 23rd I am sitting at my computer looking at different media and articles about Sojourner Truth and I can’t keep from crying. I read her poem “Ain’t I A Woman” and listened to a dramatic rendition by Actress Cicely Tyson during the congressional ceremony honoring her unveiled bust in 2009. I cried. I am not even exactly sure why I feel so emotional about this besides the fact that I am a woman of African American heritage. Maybe that is enough.
I decided to leave it alone. I walked away from it for a few days.
A few days can always help you gain perspective.
I think I understand my response now.
A sojourn is a temporary stay in a given place. King David and Sojourner Truth understood that their time here upon this earth is only for a season. David’s prayer says it is but a shadow. Both recognized that what was in their heart to do was from the Lord and that it was important to respond to it. We all are children of God. This earth is not our eternal home. As believers, we know we are strangers here as well and are citizenry is of a heavenly kingdom. Yet we all have a call to answer while we are here. We all have something in our hearts that compels us to action. Sometimes it takes a little time for us to discern exactly what it is but once we know what it is, we usually recognize Who gave it to us and Who intends to empower us to complete it. Both King David and Sojourner Truth recognized Who empowered their purpose and they answered the call.
The more I pondered the life of Sojourner Truth, the more I understood why the Lord had drawn me to her testimony. I believe God has a plan and purpose for each human’s life. I believe each of us is uniquely designed and gifted to complete that plan and purpose. The difficulty is in the discovery of it and then sticking with it. Difficulty will come. Obstacles will hinder. Disappointment and even failure will greet us. However, the more I thought about this woman, Sojourner Truth, the more I realized that I am simply without excuse. If an uneducated illiterate slave woman can hear the call of God and respond with obedience despite every societal obstacle imaginable against her; who am I not to complete the race set before me? Who am I not to be fully persuaded that this same God can complete the plan that he has for me? Who am I to shrink back from any challenge or obstacle when I have not faced any thing like those of “like precious faith” who have sojourned before me?
God creates us with purpose. We are not just here. We have a call to answer. Everyone’s call is not the same nor is it of the same magnitude; the differences are not important. What is important is this similarity; that our Creator ordains every call and therefore it is important to the fulfillment of His purpose. King David and Sojourner Truth answered the call to be sojourners fulfilling a God-given purpose. Their obedience has inspired and compelled this sojourner to fulfill her God-given purpose, full of faith knowing that “faithful is He who is calling you and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it.” (I Thessalonians 5:24 AMP).
Sojourners be inspired and compelled to answer your call.