When I was a child I was very impatient! (of course, all of that has changed) I would want to know something, see something, or expect something almost every other minute. If we were going to eat…when. If we were going to the store….when. When we went on trips, I would ask the question, “how much farther” almost when we got out of the driveway. Then I would settle in to the long drive and we would play a game where I would count cows with my sister. The game rules were, if a cow was on your side of the car, you counted them. The one with the most cows at the end of the trip was the winner. There was only one catch to the game. If you passed a graveyard (one you could see from the road) all your cows were dead and you went back to zero. Believe it or not, the game really made time fly by and it would keep me from waiting until almost the very end of the trip to ask “how far.” Of course, my dad’s reply would be, “Just over the next hill, or around the next curve, or after the next overpass.” That would keep me from looking for our destination and sure enough, there it was and the wait was over.
The early disciples were constantly quizzing Jesus about the future. They would be concerned about what was going to be happening and how can we do this? As it was with them, it is with us. We worry about tomorrow and all it will hold for us. In Philippians 4:6 Paul wrote to be “anxious about nothing. ” So what does God tell us to do? He tells us to sit back, trust Him, and let Him do the driving and enjoy the journey, when all we do sometimes is “count the cows.” You know, we get ourselves involved with busy things to the point that when we actually need to learn something on the journey, we miss it because we are distracting ourselves from the journey itself. I have been in full time ministry for over 30 years and I have been associated again and again with well-meaning Christians who serve, but they are distracted. They get themselves committed to way too many tasks to take their mind off their journey and weeks become years and years pass by and they are empty! Why? They haven’t been looking at the road ahead and all it holds. They look out the side and back transfixed with the game. They go from a bunch of counted cows (deeds) and then they see a graveyard and they are back at zero. Then they start counting again, just hanging out until they get to their destination. Pau wrote to the church in 1 Thessalonians 5 and he told them in verse 21 to “examine” everything carefully and hold fast to that which is good. He continued on encouraging them to allow the sanctification process to be made complete until we see that our destination is “just over the next hill!” In other words, keeping your mind on the journey until Christ returns and then we hit our destination. Our journey may seem like a long one at times, and you may feel compelled to ask Jesus, “how long till we get there.” Jesus’ reply of “just a little while longer” isn’t to put you off, but help you realize that time is short and you need to be making the most of the journey while you are traveling. No games. A real journey with Jesus as our pilot or driver. All along the way we will be learning from the Master while on the trip and telling others what we have learned so they can journey with us. We’ve got to trust God to make this journey all it needs to be and believe verse 24 where Paul writes, “faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”
Keep your focus on the journey and don’t let yourself get bogged down with the length of the trip. Anticipate God showing you something new and exciting on the journey today and be looking for what is ahead. Who needs to count what you’ve done in a silly game to just have it all burn one day. Focus on the journey ahead and enjoy what God is doing in your life. Remember, the end of the journey is “Just Over the Next Hill.”
The Pilgrimage continues…..