Pilgrim is Tempted to Turn Back

This poem portrays a person wrestling with their calling, with the trials they’ve faced, and with the unknown trials ahead. Two different voices speak to the weary pilgrim: the voice of the Liar, our spiritual enemy, and the voice of the Lord.

Turn back, turn back, tired pilgrim.
Are you sure you want to go on?
The losses you leave behind are only the start
of the emptiness you will find
if you carry on.

Turn back, turn back, lest you wander
through mazes of uncertain pathways,
never sure where to go, or to which you belong.

Turn back, turn back, let you lose yourself
along the rough and scorching way,
lest you leave your soul in pieces,
a trail behind you.

Turn back, turn back, tired pilgrim.
You already have no home to return to.
Find a place, settle down,
keep something for yourself,
for once have a place and a name.

Turn back, turn back, lest you bleed
for you cannot predict the dangers you will face
and they will not leave you unscathed.
The losses you leave behind you now
are nothing to the thorns you must embrace
if you carry on.


Pilgrim, are you listening, do you hear?
Do not listen to the voice saying “turn back.”
Your place and name awaits;
Do not fear.
You will never be settled till you reach the end,
but the end will be worth the journey.

Pilgrim, I am here.
You will not lose yourself;
though you bleed, you cannot die.
The dangers you face will not harm you
by day or by night.
Do not fear.

Pilgrim, do not lose your courage.
The losses you’ve left behind
have already been soothed
by the start of the joys set ahead.
This path takes much
but it also gives.
The thorns are nothing to the treasure
you will certainly find.
Do not lose your courage, pilgrim.
Do not fear.
Carry on.

Photo by Kevin Quezada on Unsplash.

Esther Greenfield

Esther Anne Greenfield is a poet, missionary, third-culture kid, and mother. She learned to walk and write poetry in East Africa, and she fell in love with her husband on a summer internship in West Africa. Today they live in North Africa, with the goal of sharing God's Word with least-reached people. Esther's writings are inspired by her life in Africa and her love for Jesus. She blogs at

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