These all died in the faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Hebrews 11:13
Speaking on this verse in 1842, James Smith, predecessor to Spurgeon, said:
Every believer is a pilgrim. He is traveling to his Father’s house! He is presently a stranger in a strange land, surrounded by temptations, trials, and foes. His journey lies through a great and terrible wilderness. Therefore he must not expect a very smooth path, or many comfortable accommodations. He will have much to grieve and distress him. His heart will be often burdened with grief, and filled with sorrow–tears are common to the Christian. He feels the unsuitableness of the things of time to his spirit, profession, and aim. And therefore he confesses, “I am a stranger and a pilgrim–as all my fathers were!” Psalm 39:12
Weariness and painfulness are his portion now–but a rest remains for him! It is a glorious rest. It embraces and includes all that the believer has prayed for–or can desire!
It waits for him at the end of his journey,
it was prepared for him from the foundation of the world,
it is now promised to him in the faithful word, and
it will be bestowed upon him when he has fought the good fight, and finished his course.
Everything at present may appear gloomy and distressing; but ahead of you, believer, everything is glorious, magnificent, and blessed! Press on then–fight the good fight of faith. Travel on in the strength of Jesus! You are going home–and you have a glorious home to go to!
The minute after you have entered your rest–you will forget all the fatigue, all the dangers, and all the difficulties of the way! You will perhaps be filled with wonder, that you should ever have allowed such trifles to vex you, or such little trials to discourage you–with such a glorious end before you.
Fellow-pilgrim, expect trouble–but also expect mercy to help you in time of need! Expect to feel your circumstances to be trying–but also expect your Savior’s strength to be perfected in your weakness! You will soon end your tedious, tiresome journey–and enter into the joy of your Lord!
Never forget you are now a pilgrim–a stranger–only a sojourner here in this poor world. Here you have no continuing city–but you seek for one to come.
Nothing can make this poor world your rest–it will always be a wilderness to you. Be content then, to wait until you get home! There you shall enjoy–and always enjoy, all your desires! There will not be one unfulfilled want, wish, or desire there! All will be satisfied–all will be full. In a little while–you will see the portal of your Father’s house, and hear Him say, “Come in, you who are blessed of the Lord, tarry no longer outside! Come, dwell forever with Me!”