Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said: “Life is a journey, not a destination.” And so I said in Part 1 that there are two types of people: the journey types and the destination types, and you can tell them in the way they drive.
I’m the destination type—just get to that point. Whereas my wife she likes to look around and enjoy the scenery, that sort of thing. I guess we are that sort of people. We either enjoy the things around us or we want to get where we are going. The Bible says in Psalm 118:24, “This day belongs to the Lord. Let’s celebrate and be glad today.” And that’s the emphasis—the word ‘today’.
It’s a good thing to remember that the whole of life is a journey – the good bits and the bad bits. We can learn from every single experience if we seek God’s presence. Not always easy, but it is a worthwhile thing to do.
We need to remember what Jesus said as recorded in John 10:10, “A thief comes only to rob, kill and destroy. I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullness”. There is nothing more sad than being alive and not enjoying life. Life is a journey—it has a beginning, a middle and an end. We need to have something to reach for, a vision or a goal.
Sometimes I am guilty of becoming preoccupied with the destination. My mind is filled with the day’s agenda, and the desire to get it started is strong—maybe you are like that too. When I go on holidays with my wife, I notice she is very good and relaxed and enjoying the surroundings. Not me. I am thinking of what we will do next. I miss out on the smaller details. Maybe it’s time to take the next exit, slow down, and enjoy the ride.
The Journey Prepares Us for the Destination
As you read the Old Testament, you’ll notice the Promised Land was always available for the children of Israel—yet they wandered around for 40 years. They disobeyed God, so they wandered around grumbling, complaining, murmuring; they were discouraged, fearful, impatient.
In the New Testament when Jesus said, “Follow me” to Peter—he was setting Peter out on a journey. Peter didn’t immediately become the bold evangelist we see later in Acts. No, he had to wait—had to wait for the Holy Spirit to come. Had to wait as he practised preaching and healing. It was through the journey Peter developed into the man Jesus called him to be.
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Yes, the destination is important and we need to have goals and identify where we’re called, but then we need to allow God to set the timeline and take us through his journey. It’s the journey, after all, that prepares us for the destination.
Where are you today? Impatiently waiting to get to your next destination? Or, are you allowing God to take you through the journey?
Lesslie Newbigin, the missionary and theologian wrote:
We do not know the destination. We have no map of what lies beyond the curtain, though theologians—and others—often use language to suggest that we have. We do not know the limits of the possibilities for our personal lives or for the life of the world. We do not know, and cannot know, all that God has prepared for those who love him. It is beyond the highest power of our imagination. We do not know the destination; but we do know the way. That is the heart of the matter.
A Prayer for Patience
Here is a worthwhile prayer:
Patient God, we are people in a hurry. We confess that we value faster more than deeper, and getting there more than growing. We miss the tiger lily on our way to the art museum, the wren’s song on our way to the concert. God, we even miss the child on the way to the adult.
We hurry to do things ourselves, God, because your steady, deliberate slowness irritates and scares us. Teach us to trust you so we can simply wait. We only know how to wait with fingers tapping.
God, some days we don’t have any fun. We don’t have the time or the energy for fun. We’re too busy trying—trying to get caught up, trying to make sense of our lives, trying to be better people. God, show us when we try too hard. Teach us not to be afraid to let go. Teach us to trust you. Teach us to be gentle with ourselves.
We confess that we think we’ve done some things right. But sometimes it all feels like a perpetual struggle—between fear and love, anger and love, pride and love, pain and love; a struggle between foolishness and wisdom, individualism and responsibility, how others define us and how we define ourselves.
We commit ourselves to keep on, but we get tired, impatient, angry, and scared, so then we give up and give in, then we fail you, each other, and ourselves. Have mercy on us, forgive us, free us, love us, through Jesus the Christ we pray. Amen.