Tomorrow I am driving to Bloomington, Indiana, to pick up my daughter Suzanne and her things and together we will drive home. It will be short trip, but I am looking
forward to it. I am not looking for any drama, but I am open to an adventure and change during the journey.
Journeys are a frequent theme in the Scriptures. A couple of weeks ago in worship, we read about the two disciples who walked seven miles to Emmaus and during the walk encountered Jesus. Their simple walk became a spiritual journey of transformation. (I posted on this story here).
There are many other such journeys in the Bible. The Israelites journeyed/wandered in the wilderness for forty years after their exodus from slavery in Egypt and prior to their
arrival in the Promised Land. Elijah the prophet made the journey from Northern
Israel to Mt. Horeb in Sinai to encounter God (I Kings 19). Jonah made a side trip to the sea and a whale before making the trip to Nineveh. Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days to pray and fast before starting his ministry (Matthew 4) and later set his face towards Jerusalem for his passion (Matthew 16:21). The book of Acts is filled with journeys, especially Paul’s missionary sojourns.
Contemporary literature also uses the metaphor of journey for spiritual transformation. J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and C. S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader both use the journey motif as means to describe the main characters movement from self-centered, complacent beings to courageous, self-sacrificing heroes. Their stories carry the Biblical image into our current worldview.
I don’t expect any major transformation during my drive to and from Indiana. After all it is only three days. But I think any journey has the potential to open us up to new perspectives and insights, especially if we invite God to be a part of the journey. I’ll let you know when I return.
Jesus said, I am the way. (John 14:7)
Do you remember a trip or journey where the Spirit renewed or redirected your life?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, guide me this day on the path to life.
When I was younger, I always said I was going to do things differently from my parents. I wasn’t going to live in Minnesota and was going to quit college to travel the world by myself. My parents gave me their blessings and let me go.
As I traveled, I met lots of different people and got to experienced many an adventure. I was 19 yrs old and a little scared about traveling alone at first,but it made me independent.I had to figure things out for myself. Had to take ownership in the decisions I made.The more I traveled though,the more I began to appreciated home, the opportunity to go to college , my family and old friends . After a year or so I was ready to come home and focused on finishing my degree. My eyes were open to how great home and family really was.
I had the same journey with my faith. I was not going to be a Christian like my parents and sister. I was going to study other religions, though I had never really studied my own religion. My parents reluctantly let me go.
As I studied about other faiths I would some how always learn things about Christianity. I kept getting pointed back to where I started.Finally a friend challenged me to study my own faith,but I put it off. Bible study was not for me.
Then through my oldest daughter I was brought to a bible study. It was a year long study.I had never cracked open the bible really and I had made up my mind I wasn’t going to stay in the study for the year. I was a little scared. But as I learned and read the bible for myself I fell in love with Jesus. I began to take ownership of my faith for myself.My eyes were open and I saw things differently.Now 12 years later I’m still in that bible study as a teacher, and I have claimed Christianity as my faith.
Amazing how a journey can make you see things differently and bring you back to were you started.
Fifteen-and-a-half years ago, Jon and I were at a holiday party, hosted by friends from our church family in Minneapolis. A group of women there were planning a dogsledding trip and someone had to cancel due to injury; I was invited to take her place. After talking to Jon, I said yes, though he asked, “You don’t really like dogs or being cold, so why do you want to do this?” While scary (or maybe even terrifying) at first, the trip remains a highpoint in my life. I connected with wonderful new friends, it sparked further adventures, and I gained a great deal of confidence. The trip was renewing and challenging too. The experience reminded me of the joys and growth that can happen when we look beyond the potential roadblocks, like how we feel about dogs and cold, and embrace the larger adventure. I know I’ve experienced similar growth through ministry and faith adventures – the details of the opportunity may not be my favorites, but the need to rely on prayer, to dig deeper into my faith, and to embrace scripture to prepare myself . . . all create highpoints in life’s journey.