Going Somewhere?

Sometimes we can feel like life is going nowhere.  It is like the realization, when someone is travelling, that he has passed this way before, and he wonders, “Am I just going in circles?” Once in a while I look at myself and lament how little I have moved or changed on the inside, for all my going.   Every day around the world more than 8 million people fly somewhere and billions are spent in air travel.  Unless we honestly ask ourselves “Where am I going?” and I mean internally, in a spiritual sense of going and growing, we are in danger of moving a lot but going nowhere.  Jesus said, “I am the Way”, or in other words, in him we are truly going somewhere to Someone and to an eternal destiny.

The way of Jesus, the narrow road, is an inward journey of the soul, an exodus out of our weary burden of sin.  His way is the second exodus that far eclipses the first. He frees us from cruel slavery of the task master that refuses to let us go.  His way leads out through the testing of the desert, and into the paradise of the promised land.  His cross is our Passover and his resurrection is our new life.

Leaving is half the battle.  Just as Israel left Egypt but still longed for the pots of meat and bread, so it is hard to let go of this world and its temporal comforts.  We despise the daily miraculous provision of heavenly bread, when we go to the world to fill our hunger. We also forget what cruel burdens accompany those pleasures.  The apostle Peter, before he denied the Lord, was “warming himself” by the fire.  In a similar way, when we seek to warm ourselves by the pleasures of this world rather than heavenly consolations God supplies, we are also easily tempted to say like Peter, “I don’t know him.”

The way of Jesus is a journey of faith.  The pilgrims of the past all left not knowing where the path was leading.

“And he (Abraham) went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. Hebrews 11:9,10

These pilgrims chose the difficult path knowing that it leads somewhere beautiful.  Like Moses who left Egypt, “He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” Hebrews 11:26

What we are being called to leave is small, in comparison to the eternal gains of knowing Jesus and the eternal joys at the end of the road.  Leaving our earthly burden’s behind, we are able to climb to the highest places in God and to taste his eternal pleasures.

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,  which shines brighter and brighter until full day. Prov. 4:18

This is not the popular road nor is it the easy path, and at times we may feel like we’ve taken a wrong turn.  However, with the inner companionship of the Spirit to guide us and the word of God as a flashlight on the path, we will make our way home.

“Your word, says the Psalmist, is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psa. 119:105

 

 

Destiny Delayed

The summer storm fills the night air with a the rare freshness of much needed moisture. Rain falls across the windshield as we pull into the short term lot near the arrivals area our missionary friends will walk into.  We quickly scoot into the terminal and up to the arrivals board to check on the flight.   Only now does it occur to me that this will be a late night.  Most of the flights have been diverted or cancelled due to the storm.  The worst kind of waiting is when you don’t know how long it will take.  We alternate between walking the corridors and sitting among the other displaced travellers.

Our lives, it seems to me, are too often regulated by the ever present ticking clock, and so unwanted pauses are uncomfortable for me.   I  remember the carefree days of childhood where time flowed with a rhythm of play, eat, rest, work and imagine. That’s more what God’s movements are like.  God is not going to allow us to fit him into our calendars and clocks.

“OBJECTS AND EXPERIENCES ACQUIRE VALUE THROUGH THE ACT OF WAITING. . . . IF INSTANT GRATIFICATION DEVALUES, IF IMPATIENCE IS A FORM OF GREED, PERHAPS PATIENCE, THEN, IS A GENEROSITY, AN INTENTIONAL GIVING OF ONE’S TIME, A GIVING OF ONESELF.”  On Waiting, Harold Schweizer

“Master, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” Martha blurts out.  Her confusion and grief overwhelm her as she questions the Lord’s sense of timing. (John 11)

By the time Jesus had arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days and the mourners were already gathered.  By any cultural standard that is too late.  Too late for a miracle and barely on time for a pastoral homily.

Time, chasing us like the crocodile in Peter Pan, threatens to run out on us before the opportunity of a lifetime comes along.  We think, “I’m too old and too weak or out of ideas and money, empty of hope and full of despair. Lord it’s too late for me.”   “How long, Oh Lord?” David prays in the Psalms.  However, when we are completely out of options, it is never too late for God.

HEALING IS OUT OF THE QUESTION NOW FOR LAZURUS, BUT NOT RESURRECTION! “LAZARUS COME FORTH,” JESUS CRIES. AND THE DEAD MAN LIVES.

When the plane finally arrives, I lost half a night of sleep and moved my car a half a dozen times to save money. Our guests have endured worse, having flown through traumatic turbulence that left them looking ghost like. They, like Lazarus, have passed through death and still live, happy to be alive.