“Have you read Hebrews 11?” he asked. We were enroute to an airport, I was flying trans-Atlantic, and we were discussing how it is to live in various places and wonder where home is.
“Well, yes, I’ve read Hebrews 12. Why?”
“The people in those lists were wanderers. They kept moving around, following where God told them to go. They didn’t settle.”
He’s a hobo, my friend is. He says so himself. He’s restless, never settling for easy living and easy answers.
Since that conversation, I’ve been thinking about journeying, moving on, leaving point A for point B. I am finding that the Bible says a lot about it. It recounts many journeys and walks. It must be that life IS a journey, a progression through many points, a way to a destination.
This can involve physically, tangibly moving from place to place on the globe, but more importantly, it should denote spiritual progress and mileage.
“Journey” has been such a buzzword, and overused that I’m tired of using it. (“This experience? Well…it’s been a journey,“ they say.) But it IS reality. God keeps nudging His children further, telling them He will guide them with His eye, urging them to lengthen the cords of their tents, and to hear His voice telling whether to go right or left.
Traveling always carries with it inherent surprise and sometime apparent disaster. God is unpredictable, and we don’t know what will be around the next corner. But we’ve read the last chapter, and we know that the destination is worth the traveling and travailing. Most importantly, we should know the journey is not about us and our comfort and adventure, but about Him and His purposes, which are as vast and deep as Himself.
The Jews were well acquainted with traveling and pilgrimages. I love the picture in Psalm 84. They are on pilgrimage, enroute to the City. On the way, they pass through the Valley of Weeping. But in their journey, they turn the valley into a place of springs. What was arid and sad becomes a place of greenery and songs.
Even if we are all sojourners, transient, never staying at the same place forever, we can change the terrain through which we travel. Imagine the possibilities!
What if we would choose to change the landscape at whatever place we are? Maybe God’s people could change the world one little piece at a time if their hearts were set on pilgrimage instead of on settling down.
Changing the area around us should mean more than carrying out a landscaping job in the yard. It should include clearing our hearts and taking away the dry twigs. Repentance cleans our souls and makes them soft and fruitful. Grace beautifies a parched place, giving it lushness and life.
I have crossed paths with people who left springs behind them. Others seem resigned to live in a perpetual desert. You know who are the most pleasant fellow travelers.
Ultimately, though, the trip we’re taking is not about finding pleasant people to travel with. It’s about going somewhere wonderful. And enroute, we are amazed with our wondrous Guide, His plans for us, and what He promises us at the end of the journey.
We are never, ever alone on any path, however remote and lonely it feels. We are not abandoned in a strange desert. He would never lead us to rugged mountains with giving us a way out. He knows our path and our destination, and there is no guide more worthy of our trust.
So I’m happy to pack my bags and fly to another country and find a new home. I’m on the way to a perfect place where there is no desert, no loss or disappointment or delays. Until then, I’ll keep travelling, keep looking for ways to fill this place with springs.