As I write this blog, I’m sitting at an altitude of 10,668 meters, travelling at a land speed of 927 km/h. I’m only 2494 km away from my destination. I’ve been travelling for the past 10 hours in trains, planes, and automobiles. And I still have about 8 hours left to go. I’m getting more and more excited to come home.
Going home is an interesting concept. It’s a time like no other. Usually when I travel, I leave a place that’s somewhat familiar to go home to the place where I feel most comfortable. But to get there, I need to take a journey through unknown places, with people I may never see again in my life.
I’ve become a stranger on this trip, unknown to the people around me, and not really interested in investing time with those who are on their own journeys. Travelling is not the goal, but it's a necessary part of reaching my destination.
As I take a look around me, I see all kinds of ways in which people occupy their time. In front of me, an older gentleman is playing solitaire. The person on my right is filling out a declaration form. The couple to my left are watching a show together, and somewhere in the aisle, a mom is carrying around one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen.
I’ve been spending my time watching a movie, then starting two others, but stopping after they lost my attention. I read, and then began to edit a video that chronicles my trip. I had a lovely dinner with chicken, mash potatoes, and what I think was some sort of veggie. And now, as we start to make our way over Newfoundland, I’m enjoying a little bag of pretzels.
As I sit and put off filling out my own declaration form, I had a strange thought. What if, for whatever reason, I accepted this time in transit as home? What if I saw my travel as the destination, rather than the journey to get to something way better?
Well, I think it’s somewhat of a ridiculous thought. I would never choose this day over a day at home. As nice as these pretzels are, I’m already restless and tired of sitting down. I’m anxious to see my wife and my family and friends. I’m excited to go back to doing the things I love. If the flight attendant were to tell me that I now had to stay here forever, I would quickly feel like I was being locked into a coffin. No thanks. Please let me go home.
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard and said that life is like a journey. Faith, as well, is like a journey. We are people on the move, who have not yet arrived at our destination. None of us have it all figured out. Very few of us, I think, would say that we are ever ready to finish our journey.
The Bible also sees life as a journey. In Hebrews, the author recounts the faith of many brothers and sisters who have gone before us. These people, by faith, believed in the promises of God when everything they knew was on the line. People like Abraham, Moses and Rahab.
These people, in transit, “were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16). They had not arrived nor fully tasted the promises of God. They were on the move, and so are we. The author of Hebrews then continues with a word of encouragement for our journeys.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
If there’s one thing we can be sure of about the journey of faith and life, it’s that we don’t walk it alone. We have Jesus, our guide, leading us along the way. We have our church communities and families to encourage and support us. And what’s more, we also have the examples and testimonies of those who went before us, who have walked the difficult road of faith in the midst of extreme opposition. We are surrounded by this cloud of witnesses as we sojourn on.
And yet, so many of us have settled into our airline seats and are comfortable with our glorified TV dinners. We have settled for this life as final, complete, as if we have reached our destination.
But there’s so much more. There’s a whole world and a life waiting to be lived outside our cabins of complacency. That door to the outside, to what life is really about, is opened by Jesus Christ. In Him there is life. In Him there is freedom. In Him we find the fulfilment of the promises of God. In Him we are taken further and deeper into the journey of life than we could have ever thought possible.
But please don’t take my word for it. My journey is my journey. There may be very little about it that you will be able to connect with. My experiences with Jesus, although powerful for me, may be meaningless for you. Jesus invites you to get out of your seat, to become unsatisfied with living in transit, to believe and trust Him, and to start going through life with the expectation of coming home. There is more out there that is far better than what this world has to offer us.
And although we all walk our own journeys, and even though our paths may cross in this lifetime, we have the hope and the promise that the home God prepares for us, His kingdom come in full, is open for us all. Everyone is equal in God’s eyes and welcome to come home to Him. Because of Jesus, I am confident that I will make it home, that I will get to be in the cloud of witnesses of those gone before us. I would love to see you there too.