To reach a destination you must begin the journey. The journey itself can be fun and fulfilling or difficult and dreary. Some trips have moments of both, like when you drive a thousand miles from south Texas to Colorado to ski with three young boys in the car. “Are we there yet”, “I’ve got to use the rest room”, and “we’re hungry” never stops. But then there’s the time when your kids see their first real mountain or see snow on the mountaintops. The excitement on their faces and in their voices helps to make the travel worthwhile, but you still haven’t reached your destination.
How do you think the journey would go if one of the children developed a stomach bug? Crying, screaming, and the mess that goes with this sickness seems as if it’s unending. There is not a moment of peace for anyone in the car and everyone is wishing they had never left home. But once you are there and the bug has run its course everyone has a blast skiing.
Some trips kindle greater excitement than others, and what makes the difference is not so much the journey but what awaits one there. Would a child look forward to a trip to the principal’s office for misbehaving as much as he does going to his birthday party? Of course not, because the two destinations have different expected results, one he’s excited about and the other he dreads.
I want to consider the journey of life for a few moments. It’s rightly called a journey because life is taking us somewhere. We travel to the next moment of time, where there’s a renewal of opportunity and choice. Life is about doing what we want, need or should do. It is about serving God. (Eccl. 12:13)
This voyage is long and difficult at times, but it can also be fun and fulfilling. (Heb. 11:24-26) We sometimes become impatient with its routine and we can’t wait to get there. Along the way we enjoy success and new experiences. This is the time when it’s fun to be alive.
Some might describe life as a journey to death, but it’s more than that because death ushers in eternity. (Heb. 9:27-28) While it’s difficult for us to appreciate eternity, we prepare for it by the way we live. It’s a voyage each person must take, but not everyone will arrive at the same place. (John 5:28-29) It all depends on the road traveled – the choices we make in life.
We can travel more comfortably by doing the things we want now, but at what cost? By living in sin each person does right in his own eyes. (Prov. 30:12) Moral and religious issues become self-regulated rather than divinely controlled. (Rom. 1-4) Life may be easier when we do what we want, but in the end it will disappoint us. (Prov. 14:12) I’m not sure an easy journey to hell is what we are looking for.
Consider the story of the prodigal son. (Luke 15:11-32) A rebellious young man leaves his father and journeys to a far country. It was a trip to despair and poverty because he wasted his inheritance in sin. Once he hit rock bottom and realized his sin, he made a trip back to his father’s love and blessings. The father received him with open arms and celebrated his return. The application is simple, when man journeys away from God, disaster and heartache result, but God is waiting and willing to receive those who return. (2 Peter 3:9)
No one wants to be in a car with someone who has a stomach bug. The world has its own stomach bug called sin. (Matt. 9:12) It stinks up the place and can infect those who are around. As unpleasant as it is to be around sin, Christians will forget all about it once in heaven. (Rev. 21:1-4)
It’s only natural to want an easy trip, but it is more important to arrive at the right destination. The journey to heaven is difficult and filled with obstacles, but it is worth the effort. (Matt. 7:13-14) Whether you know it or not, you’re on a journey to eternity and you are traveling to a place called heaven or hell.
The good and bad news is as long as you’re alive you can change your destiny. If you are heading to hell, change your direction by following Christ. (Rev. 22:17) If you are a Christian, remain faithful and don’t change your course. Remember, Heaven is worth any price and you should avoid hell at all cost. (Rev. 2:10) Would you rather be the boy heading to the principal’s office or the boy going to his birthday party – the biggest and best birthday party every?
By Terry Starling