Life: Destination or Journey?

My husband is a huge classic Corvette fan. He has been given countless Corvette models, shirts, watches and even cologne. He can identify which light shape corresponds to each model or how the vents on the side indicate what year it is. If we were driving to my brother’s house in Bowling Green, Kentucky, he would want to take a detour to the National Corvette Museum. I admire people who can be driving someplace and stop along the way for little adventures. But that is definitely not me! I am the person that heads straight to my destination and then, once the car is unloaded, the vacation begins… and not a minute before!

But aren’t we told that life is not a destination but a journey? I definitely don’t abide by that saying. I am a purely destination person. I am beginning to realize that I live much of my life like childbirth: I experience the cramps and then the contractions of labor, I push and push, and eventually, there’s a prize at the end. I tend to work through it in “my own power” and then I see God when it’s over. When I get to the other side of this difficulty, God and I will debrief and I will see what I learned. I will see how He used this situation for my good and for His glory. As I look back, I realize I did this as I walked through the illness and death of loved ones, as I experienced rebellion of a child, as I went through job transitions and big moves. I have pushed through the heartbreaks and disappointments of life in my power, knowing that God was waiting on the other side to console me but not always embracing Him along the way.

I realized the other morning that I was doing this yet again! I have experienced a lot of loss and transition in the past year. Many things in my life are changing. And I am trying to hang on until things settle. I was reminded the other morning that hard times are not the place in life where you wait for things to get better. Each day I must think “this is what I am called to today.”  I have to experience God walking WITH me in this journey.

When I think of all the journeys in the Bible, I realize that it often wasn’t about the end point but about the trip itself. One of my Bible heroes is Abraham. God told Abraham to “Go” in Genesis 12. He didn’t tell him where. He just said go. To have the faith to go without knowing where is so impressive to me. I’m certain that heading out without a sure destination would have killed me!

And then there was the expedition of Moses. If I were an Israelite with Moses, I probably would have “missed” the parting of the Red Sea and the pillar of cloud and fire (Exodus 13-14). In other words, I would have missed the very presence of God because I would have been so set on getting to the Promised Land. Later when the Israelites were made to wander for 40 years in the wilderness, I would likely have “missed” my entire life, wondering “are we there yet?”

The point I am trying to make is that we need to live the life we are given. I am not to live as if I were in a waiting room. I am not supposed to act like I am in an airplane in a holding pattern over an airport. This means when we are in a period of transition that we don’t wait until things are settled to see God working. We don’t wait for the diagnosis before we acknowledge that God is with us. We see that even in something as difficult as the loss of a loved one, He grieves with us and He comforts us through His people. God has not looked the other way and our problems have not gone unnoticed. He sees us and is walking with us. This life is not about the destination but the journey. I am not to be waiting to get through to the other side of a problem (or for that matter of this life). I am to walk each day WITH Jesus!

I love these verses from Isaiah 43:2-3a:

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”