I’m going on a journey. It’s a long one. It’s one I can’t plan for or prepare for. And my planning, control – desiring self can’t really quite take it. Oh it’s a surprise! I tell myself. But really, I prefer to not have a surprise.
To be honest, I’m not sure I want to share my journey with you. It’s like staring down a railroad track: endless, mile upon mile, bleak. Yet I know that track is more than I can see, goes through pretty areas, and gets me to my destination.
So let’s go. You can come with me if you want. A friend to walk along side with — yes please!
But the truth comes again, we can only walk so far together. Eventually you will follow your own track, and me mine. Loneliness upon the journey is part of the process. I’m convinced. No spouse even can totally walk the journey with you. They too have their own tracks.
You see we are journeying towards heaven. Every single person on this earth is journeying towards heaven. That’s the pretty way of saying it. The dark way of saying it is that we are journeying towards death. Each baby conceived takes his first cry the minute his lungs breath the air outside of the womb. Some babies never make that first cry, their heartbeat stopping within the walls of a womb. Some people can’t take the life they’ve been given or the consequences they’ve chosen by how they decide to live, so they choose their destiny and kill themselves. Others choose to kill themselves for a cause that doesn’t even make sense. Suicide bombers for example. Car accidents and diseases steal a life. But most people start their lives and end their lives as God designed: conceived by egg and sperm joining and the amazing process of life beginning. Cells multiply, fingers and toes form, hearts beat. Life happens. Legs and arms grow. Haircuts change a thousand times, teeth fall out and are replaced by adult ones. Bodies mature. Wrinkles and sunspots and grey hairs quietly take over. Then, a casket envelopes the body. A body now lifeless. It’s the process of getting to heaven.
For a Christian, all I just described is natural and normal. Life begins, life happens, life ends. We are called to give up our body and let the spirit finally meet our God. But we have hope of having new bodies someday, bodies raised in life. For Jesus was the first-fruit of all that is to come. He overcame death. We will too.
But as we live on this earth we make choices that affect our eternities. The first choice is choosing to acknowledge Jesus Christ as God himself, sent to earth. He died on a cross for the remission of sin for all mankind. He rose again. He shows us how life on earth can actually happen well. But that means if we want to live for eternity now, that we make choices now on earth that we might not see the result of until we get to heaven.
I want to share a secret thought of my heart with you. I’ve thought I was a pretty good Christian. God called me to Himself at a young age. As I’ve shared before I was not really rebellious. He drew my heart deeper into His Word and into loving Him. As a single I had plenty of time to develop myself in habits of Christian growth. Secretly pride begin to develop in me. I thought I was “doing this Christian life pretty well!” Then I got married, switched jobs, and my husband and I are in a season of slow going.
Things deep in my heart started to surface. Things that are not pretty. Discontent, resentment, impatience, grumbling, questioning God’s ways, irritation over minor things, selfishness, envy, criticism. I think you get the picture. I also think you know exactly what I mean because these things come up into your thoughts or words as well. Oh sure, not all the time. I’m also seeing joy and delight in new ways. But I’d be lying if I said those ugly things weren’t in me.
I am reading a book on marriage, that I highly recommend: A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas. He brings the idea of death into our marriage today. He notes that how we love our spouse will matter greatly when we stand before God. He argues that seeds of love, patience, self-sacrifice, and any number of things grow, maybe unnoticed until we die. Then, God will ask us how we loved our spouse. He will show us the produce of those things. But the opposite is true, if we daily plant bitterness, anger, resentment, selfish idols, need and greed, and many other things of the flesh, then once we meet God we will see that too. Hmmm. Thought provoking.
So you see, I’m a newly married woman and God is allowing this season of not being where either of us want to be, as well as new time challenges which hinder my carefully built habits of Bible study and capability of even making a meal on time, to show me the junk in my heart. He is inviting me on a journey into a place that seems for the moment unseen.
You might not be a newly married woman. Maybe you’ve been married 5, 15, 27, or 45 years. Praise God! You might be a single woman still. Praise God! You might be a widowed woman, missing marriage or enjoying a newfound freedom to pursue God’s kingdom in new ways. Praise God! You might be a woman in the throes of cancer or another disease that leaves you without strength. Praise God! In each season, dear friend, you and I are simply taking another step, another leap, or another glance into the journey to eternity. The journey to heaven. Oh press on sister in Christ! Look down that railroad track of life. Note the unendingness, the bleakness, the unknown. And then start, step by step, day by day. Place one foot in front of the other. Ask God to show you His ways that you might walk in them. And as you do, step by step, you and I will reach heaven. It’s guaranteed! And when that railroad takes you around unexpected turns into open valleys of delight, please enjoy all that is offered! Weary walking and unending unknowns are only part of the journey! The other part is great delight! And oh, I forgot to mention one thing. There is a friend who actually is able to walk every single step with you. His name is Jesus. He alone is able to be your companion every step of the way!
Let’s go dear sister, please do walk with me awhile! And when your track splits off and you are forced to go a different path, remember Jesus. He is with you!