My husband loves to canoe—just not with me.
We are opposites in almost every way, and most of the time it serves us well in our marriage. But not when it comes to canoeing. 🙂 See, when Skip finds himself in a canoe with a paddle in his hand, he turns into a man on a mission. The destination is in sight, and he’s gonna get us there as fast as possible. Me, on the other hand, well, I like to take my time. I like to take in the scenery. Paddle for a few minutes, then just sit there and rest. I’m perfectly content to be in the middle of the lake completely still not going anywhere. When it comes to canoeing, I am all about the journey.
But when it comes to life, I’m not.
I get so focused on the destination that I miss the joy of the journey! I miss the joy of “who” I’m journeying with.
Most of life is made up of journeys. There is no doubt much excitement over destinations (for me especially when those destinations involve food)! If we aren’t careful, we will find ourselves living for the next big thing.
When I get my driver’s license…
When I graduate high school…
When I get to college…
When I get a job…
When I get married…
When I have a child…
When I’m finally on vacation…
A destination can be motivation. Goals are good. But I am trying not to live for them anymore. I want to take one day at a time. To live in the here and now and soak it up for all its worth.
I want to treasure the journey, the day-to-day-grind…even the mundane! Not just live for the weekend, but to make the most of Monday. To look for little things every day to treasure and be thankful for. And most importantly, I want to treasure my relationships along the way.
I think the Israelites had the same struggle when they were journeying to the promised land. It had been a long hard journey with many setbacks (most of them were self-inflicted). As I was reading about another one of their setbacks in the desert, something struck me.
“The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.” Deuteronomy 1:30-33
God had been with his people throughout the entire journey to the promised land. Through thick and thin, good and bad, mountains and valleys, ups and downs. God had been there. He went ahead of them. He fought for them. He carried them. He provided for their needs. He was a fire for them by night. He was a cloud for them by day. He wasn’t just a God who showed up at the destination—for “The Promised Land Celebration Extravaganza.” He was a God who was with them on the journey.
He was with them all the way.
He wanted to bless His people with the promised land. But more importantly, He wanted to BE with His people, to dwell with them and be near them, to have a close relationship with them.
The promised land wasn’t the “be-all end-all.”
The greatest prize wasn’t the promised land, but the God of the promised land!
Sadly, I think many of the Israelites missed it because they missed Him. They were so fixated on the destination, they missed the joy of journeying with Him.
My sweet friend Marti shared something beautiful with me. She said that when she read through the Bible for the first time, the overarching theme that kept resonating over and over again to her was God’s continual passionate pursuit of His people. He never stops pursuing us. She said, “Oh, if only we would stop running from Him and turn around and run toward Him instead. We would collide.”
We would collide!
For Christians, our ultimate promised land is heaven. Heaven is a perfect place where there is no more sickness, sorrow, or death. No more brokenness or heartache. Yes, what a day that will be!
But friends, each day you wake up here on earth, remember to treasure the journey. Treasure each day. Treasure the people God has placed in your life. And most of all, treasure Him. Treasure Him on the days He walks with you in the wilderness. Treasure Him when He fights for you and carries you! Treasure and savor the glory of His presence when He envelopes you like a cloud or warms you like a fire.
And one day when we get to that beautiful promised land in glory, the destination will be so much sweeter because we didn’t miss Him on the journey!
Lord, help me to treasure You every single day. Being with You makes the mundane magnificent! You make the wilderness worth it! You are the true and lasting joy of the journey!! Lord, I look forward to the destination, but I want to savor each and every day. Most of life is made up of journeys, being in between destinations. And I want to make the most of those times! I don’t want to miss the joy of journeying with You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.