My youngest son and I head out today for Indonesia with a total flight time of about thirty hours. My son is excited about being on a plane that long. I, on the other hand, dread it. Sometimes the travel can be excruciating, but the destination is worth it.
Sounds like life, doesn’t it? A former president of my seminary Alma Mater had daily migraine headaches, but he never complained. He “count[ed] it all joy” when he met his trials (James 1:2), because, as he would say, “The journey is difficult, but the destination will be delightful.” It was “the joy that was set before Him” that helped Jesus endure the cross, “despising its shame” (Hebrews 12:2). The Apostle Paul calls our trials, “light and momentary afflictions” that prepare for us “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
It’s hard to look beyond the journey to the joy set before us, which is our delightful destination and our eternal weight of glory. This week I’ve had some extremely challenging meetings, and at times it’s hard not to lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:1, 16). If I lose my focus, I lose my way. If I only see a thirty-hour flight of insomnia on a cramped airplane, I lose my anticipation of when the wheels will touch ground and we arrive.
One day we will arrive in our heavenly dwelling place. One day the tent that is our earthly home will be destroyed, and we will have “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). Even though we may groan, “longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,” we will be “of good courage” (2 Corinthians 5:2, 6). And whatever our circumstances, what is our aim? “We make it our aim to please Him” (2 Corinthians 5:9).
Will I please the Lord on those flights from Indianapolis to Chicago to Hong Kong to Singapore to Jakarta and to Yogyakarta? Or will I grumble and complain about not being able to sleep or about it being too cold or too hot, or I don’t like the food, or I have to sit next to a guy who keeps elbowing me in the ribs? Will I please the Lord in good times and bad as I go through what is sometimes a painful journey?
Will you please the Lord on your life journey that may include migraines, marital difficulties, illness, church transitions, financial strain, or the loss of a loved one? Yes, indeed, your journey may be difficult. But never forget that your heavenly destination will be delightful! In that day, “He who sits on the throne will shelter [us] with His presence. [We] will hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike [us], nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be [our] shepherd, and he will guide [us] to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes” (Revelation 7:15b-17).
[PS—Be watching for next week’s blogs, as I will write about our journey through Indonesia through our partnership with Christian Missionary Fellowship.]