Traveling: People Along the Path

 

We are fellow travelers, you and I, each taking different roads, riding in different vehicles, and following different itineraries. Some travel at a leisurely pace, others are destination driven. Whatever our style, we all meet people along the way, which can be a bane or a blessing.

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People can fill us or drain us, enrich us or deplete us. Either way, they’re unavoidable and part of God’s plan for our journey. Did I just hear a collective sigh? I could respond with comments about setting parameters or suggest possible purposes why God put them in our path, but instead, let’s look in a different direction.

Am I a blessing to the people along my path—all of them, not just friends and A-listers?

Our son David has taught me a lot about accepting people. David is disabled, a 38-year-old child with an uncomplicated, trusting view of everyone he meets. He embraces strangers and kisses the hands of waitresses. He is never put off by class, needs, or ethnicity. Like his dad, a stranger is simply a friend he’s not yet met.

And David prays for everyone—the sad, the sick, the troubled, the teen, the imprisoned, the addicted, the challenged, and those on the front page of the newspaper. On David’s life journey, each person he sees (whether or not he’s introduced) is worthy of his friendship and intercession. I think disabled is a relative term.

When I grow up, I want to be like David.

“A new command I give you: Love one another.

As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

John 13:34

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Traveling: Disturbing Detours

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Detour! Are you kidding me? I was already late.

Detours—on the road or in life—don’t shorten because we’re inconvenienced. Frustratingly, life is filled with them. As good as our planned path may be, the new home is deferred, the degree takes too long, the pregnancy is delayed, an opportunity eludes us, financial relief is too far off, or the medical procedure is too lengthy.

Life doesn’t come with GPS. The abrupt appearance of detours, usually unexpected and often irksome, is never welcome. But wouldn’t we be better served if we accepted them as part of life? Think about it, detours are not there to harass us but to keep us from danger and get us safely to our destination.

They take us down roads we would not commonly travel—through unacquainted neighborhoods, along undiscovered back-roads, past unfamiliar scenery. When eyes are open and hearts are pliable, detours can lead to discoveries we would otherwise miss, on the road and in life.

We travel two roads—one leads through the hills and valleys of this temporal world, the other is a sure path to a new and eternal earth, one without detours. Jesus said, “You know the way to the place where I am going…I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:4,6).

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,

shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18

…with no detours

Traveling: Destination Decisions

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Our next trip is to Lancaster—plowed fields, horse drawn buggies, and home-cooked meals with far too many carbs and calories. I’ve checked the forecast so I’ll know how to pack, made reservations in our favorite hotel, and purchased tickets for Sight & Sound. I can feel my body relax just thinking about it.

We choose a destination, make travel plans, and sketch out an itinerary. Or, we enroll for the course, apply for the job, make an offer on the house. We choose a church, prepare for a birth, cook for guests. We upsize and downsize, change cars and careers, watch our kids move out and our parents age out. Even when unseen, there’s change on the horizon, welcome and unwelcome, with disappointments and opportunities.

We’re always on a road to somewhere, traveling to a destination or toward a goal. What road are you now on? Is it long or short, bumpy or smooth, city traffic or country lane, toll road or scenic route? Are you happy to travel this road or longing for the trip to end?

It’s to our advantage to remember that life is merely a journey, not our destination. The many mini destinations of life are simply stops along the road to our final, great destiny, where the roads are gold, the water clear as crystal, and the neighborhoods vibrant. There are no detours, potholes, or disappointing accommodations. The food is great and the company even greater. There’s no crowding, no distress, and nothing holding us back.

So, pause in your earthly journey and remember your true destination. It puts life in perspective and makes current frustrations and disappointments tolerable. Psalm 84:5-7 always encourages me (emphases mine).

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka [weeping],
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

My friends, the path we’re now walking is part of a pilgrimage. By faith, let’s turn the places of weeping into life-giving springs and move from strength to strength—soon we’ll reach our ultimate destination and it will be worth the challenges we pass along the way.

Photo compliments of pixaby.com