I love missionaries. Missionaries are the people on the front line for God.
As a result I get a lot of newsletters, both electronic and the old fashion variety, from missionaries around the world. This week I received a letter from missionary friends, Jim and Marilou Long. Jim normally shares their news around a theme – this time the theme was Trips and Journeys. Since their previous letter their ministry has taken them to California, Delhi, India, and Kathmandu, Nepal. I have to admit to a certain amount of envy.
At the end of the letter was this challenge: “Where is God taking you? What kind of JOURNEY are you on right now? Remember that God is always with you and leading you—even in new journeys and in uncharted territories. When the children of Israel were ready to cross the Jordan River and were probably quite apprehensive about it, God said to them through Joshua, “Then you will know the way to go since you have not been this way before,” Joshua 3:4. We take great comfort and encouragement in knowing that He is going before us in these new ventures.”
In the past few months I started a couple of those journeys into uncharted territories, so this got my attention.
But the reality is that for the Christian, all of life is a journey or perhaps a series of journeys.
You might not realize that you are on a journey – but you are. Your life is not a series of unrelated, random events. Things just don’t happen to you.
Your life is not even made up of decisions that you make from day to day.
Somehow God takes all of it – the daily events of life; the decisions you make and molds all of it into His sovereign will for you.
The writer of Proverbs had that in mind when he wrote:
The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord (Proverbs 16:1).
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord (Proverbs 16:33).
So where is God taking you on your spiritual journey?
God has you on a journey that is unique just to you. No one else has your journey. Even your spouse is on a different journey. While there will be obvious similarities in your journeys, there will also be some significant differences.
So how should you approach this idea of a journey?
There are several basic things that you should do.
1. Recognize that you are on a journey but ultimately you’re not in charge of this journey. This is a journey (a life) directed by God for His purpose, for His glory.
2. Ask God to show you the way forward on your journey. He might make your journey as clear as crystal (the Israelites were following the ark). He may not. Just keep following the ark (IE, Bible reading & study, prayer, church – all of the great spiritual disciplines).
3. Commit to the journey. Don’t bail out when you can’t figure it out. Be committed.
4. Decide that even if the way isn’t clear you’ll keep following (see #2) one day at a time.
You probably won’t always know where your journey is taking you but you do know the final destination.
And as the old song says, it will be worth it all when we get there.
Stay in the Word