If I have learned one thing through our journey of ascension over the past three weeks, it is that we are sojourners now, pilgrims on the way, but not forever. Our steps up the mountain are taking us Somewhere to Someone. And each step upward is one step closer to our heavenly home where we will be pilgrims no longer but citizens with a secure home, a secure citizenship, and a secure identity.
About a year ago, I was sitting across a table with a friend, lamenting about turning 40 and not having accomplished everything I had wanted to or hoped to by this particular point in my life. She looked at me and said, “Why don’t you stop seeing 40 as a destination and start seeing it as an embarkation?” And that one question changed everything. I turn 40 next week, and the past year, instead of worrying about all that hasn’t happened on the path I have walked the last 40 years years, I have been thanking the the Lord for where He has me and asking Him to prepare me for the journey ahead.
Because as long as we live on planet earth, our steps here are not destination, they are embarkation. Our way here is not the end but the beginning of living with the Lord not just for 40 years, or 80 years, but for all of eternity, in His House, in His Presence.
So take a moment to read the following poem, our last poem in a series of six, and then take a quiet moment to answer the questions that follow.
The Journey, it is arduous
The path is steep
The nights, they darken
But the Warrior-King, He beckons on.
Never will the One who found you
Leave you alone.
Never will the One you follow
Leave you for a “better” one.
For you are His
Your worship precious
The paths He gives you
He will defend.
And when you stumble
He will aid you
Set your feet back on to Him.
And the views He gives are mighty
Stunning and so glorious
So take the Hand of your Companion
Ascend the path of Obedience.
- I want to ask you the same questions my friend asked me last year. Many of us are stuck on the path or the season God has us in because we have stopped seeing it as a pilgrim’s path, a sojourner’s way, and have started seeing it as a final destination. Listen to me: this is not the end. The path you are on is not your home nor the final destination. You are on the way. You are here today and gone tomorrow. Whatever season you are in right now is a blink of the eye, a momentary mist and shadow. So don’t stop on the path. Keep walking. Keep stepping upwards and onwards. If you are in a joyful season, soak it up with grace and thanks knowing that while we are on this earth, troubles will come. Hard seasons will arise. So thank the Lord for the grace and peace that surrounds you now. And if you are in a difficult season, remind yourself day after day, step after step, this will not last. Your light and momentary troubles are achieving for you a weight of glory that will far outweigh them all (II Corinthians 4:17). Take a moment to remind yourself of the ways you know the path you are on is temporary, not eternal. Then set your heart on hope and on home. Thank the Lord that the final destination is coming and ask Him for the grace and strength to keep walking until you see Him face to face.
- As stated above, many of us see the path we are on as destination, not embarkation. Take some time – take a day, or a week, or a year, like me – and ponder this question: How can you begin to see the path you are on as embarkation rather than destination? What desires in your heart are you asking God to fulfill? Are you open to God fulfilling them in ways you have not expected or anticipated? Can you shoulder the pack He is asking you to carry, and begin walking the way He has opened up in front of you, asking Him for fresh eyes to see a fresh path, even if it is not the way you were wanting to walk while here on this earth but trusting Him it is a way that leads to His good purposes for you in His good time?
- Spend some time asking the Lord as my friend asked me, “Who are your traveling companions?” Who would He have you walk with in this season of your life? Are you open to thanking Him for the companions He has given you in the past and receiving who He has for you to walk with in the present and the future?
- Finally, close with spending time thanking the Lord that no matter what path He has you on right now, for all those who love King Jesus, the path He has you walking down now, in this particular season, is the path home. You are not an eternal desert wanderer. You are not a perpetual pilgrim. You are headed to your permanent country, your eternal city, where your citizenship awaits you. Ask Him for eyes to see Home, for ears to hear its call, and for feet to walk its path, staying close to your Traveling Companion no matter where He takes you. You can be confident the way before you is the way up. We go up to fall down…at the feet of our Good Father in our Forever Home.