You see a lot of motivational quotes around these days that go along the lines of “It is good to have an end to journey toward, but in the end it is the journey that matters most.” (Ursula K. LeGuin) or “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” (Greg Anderson).
I don’t think any of these people have traveled across the Midwest with a toddler strapped in the backseat.
My wife, my son, and I are touring the country for the next couple of weeks visiting family. Over the past few days, we’ve traveled north from the southern tip of Texas through Oklahoma and Kansas. We stopped in Nebraska to see some of my family, and then headed up through Iowa and to Minnesota to see my wife’s family. From there we’re heading to Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and then back home to Texas.
We have loved the stops we’ve made along the road. The people we’ve met have been great, and spending time with family is a joy we cherish, living so far away from them, but the journey itself is long and . . . well let’s face it America’s heartland is boring.
Those amber waves of grain we sing about are great in lyrics and pictures, but after four hours of seeing nothing but them for miles in any direction, they loose some of they’re idyllic luster. The destinations are definitely the lure and purpose of the journey.
Isn’t that a lot like how the Christian walk feels sometimes. We have moments of God working incredibly in our lives. And then we have long stretches where He seems very distant, and things get a little boring. And we find ourselves singing along with the psalmist: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" (Psalm 42:1-3)
That’s why the Bible says things like: “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Psalms 27:14), “those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth” (Psalms 37:9), “Wait on the LORD, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land” (Psalms 37:34), and “But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew [their] strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).
For the Christian the joy of the journey is the destination. Why? Because our God is faithful. If He is your destination, the journey, though it be long and arduous, will be worth whatever duration or direction it may take.