My back was in agonizing pain. My neck and head were throbbing. My eyes were tired. I was beyond exhausted, and my wife and I had gotten into several “disagreements” about my driving. But we had finally made it to our destination – Chesterfield, South Carolina. We made the choice to drive the 1100-mile journey to visit my family in my hometown rather than fly because it was cheaper. Many said we had chosen the more difficult path, but I think it was worth it. While the trek wasn’t easy by any means, we got to see quite a few things we would have missed if we had chosen the “easy” road. We got to experience the Appalachian Mountains; visit the Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum; explore the historical, artsy town of Berea; enjoy the beauty of Cumberland Falls; and eat our way through 9 states! None of these unique memories would have been made if we traveled by airplane.
Growing up, I often heard, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” I hated that phrase. It always seemed to come whenever I was complaining about having to wait for something. I wanted what I wanted, and I wanted it now! I think this same thing happens with our spiritual journey. A lot of us just want to get wherever we think God is taking us. We don’t want to experience the in-between times. We just want to get there already. When we focus so much on WHERE God is leading us, we miss the beauty of HOW God is leading us. And when we try to hurry the process, we can find ourselves losing focus of Him completely.
Take for example the Israelites in Exodus. They were constantly grumbling and complaining. He sent one of their own, Moses, to lead them out of captivity. He rescued them from the Egyptian army. He revealed Himself in signs and wonders. He provided them daily with food straight from heaven. Instead of responding in awe and appreciation for what God had done for them, they saw only their hardships. They noticed the difficulty of the journey when they should have been focused on the God of the journey. It was not an easy road, but it was an amazing one. They witnessed the glory of God like many have never seen. I wonder if we are not doing the same thing. Is God working miracles we are not paying attention to because we are too inconvenienced by our “bumpy, winding road”?
Following the footsteps of Christ is a hard walk. It is constantly going against the grain, against popular culture, against self. God is constantly molding us into His likeness, into a reflection of His glory. This can seem uncomfortable, sometimes even painful, but it is worth it. While the destination is heaven, there is beauty in the journey. Instead of wishing it was over, embrace it and enjoy it. God has so much in store for you.