I've traveled a lot in the last six months...
I've flown east to west, south to north, and back again.
I've driven down old familiar roads that brought back memories, both happy and sad.
I've braved new roads and seen new views that filled me with wonder.
I've missed turns, had to reroute, and gotten lost...a lot.
I've explored new places and experienced both delights and challenges.
I've reconnected with old friends and had great times!
I've made many new friends and been so blessed by them.
I've made plans, and changed them, and changed them again.
I've woken up a few times not knowing which house, city, or state I was in.
I've cried sad tears and happy tears in the same day.
I've complained to God about various things on this unusual path.
And I've watched God do miracles for me again and again.
One day I was driving in a familiar place, but down a new road. Instead of the highway, I was on a little back road. As I wound through hills and valleys, I was captivated by the beauty around me, with the sun shining on me through the peaks. I wanted to stop and drink in the moment. It felt like I'd discovered a treasure...one that really wasn't far away, hidden just a step beyond the ordinary pathway.
But I had a schedule to keep. No time to stop. I knew I probably wouldn't get to drive that little road again. So I tried to fix the moment and the beauty in my mind. As I did, the Lord began to speak to my heart.
This life is a journey...
Sometimes we walk the same familiar roads, either happily or wearily.
Sometimes God puts us on a new path, and we have to learn new things and trust Him to lead us each step.
Sometimes we get lost, and have to turn around, and reroute, and remember that God's grace covers us every moment.
Sometimes our plans get changed, again, and again...until we don't know what to do next.
Sometimes we lose sight of the view around us and can only see the ground in front of us.
Sometimes God leads us to hidden treasures that renew our perspective and refresh our souls.
Sometimes we appreciate more fully the beauty of where we are now because of the barrenness of where we have been.
As I drove that little back road, I thought about this journey of life...that's so hard, and amazing, and painful, and bewildering, and beautiful.
And I wondered, "How do we do it well?"
Then I heard God say, "Don't be afraid."
Don't be afraid? Is it that simple? Yes. And no. It is simple and profound truth. It's not easy to do.
"Don't be afraid."
Don't fear the unknowns. Don't fear the challenges. Don't fear the pain. Don't fear the changes. Don't fear the failures. Don't fear the losses. Don't fear the gains.
Yes, there will be all those things...especially the gains. Because our God is with us on the journey. He is giving to us every step. He is using every detail to form the bigger picture. He is sovereign over all. He is good. He is faithful. He is keeping and will keep His promises, as He works out His eternal plans and purposes for each of us.
This life is a journey. But it's not about getting from "here" to "there." If we seek an easy journey, we'll miss out on what really matters.
The journey is about the process, and the people, and the beauty, and the miracles, and the transformation...and the glory of God.
Each new day we have the opportunity - in the power of the Holy Spirit - to reject the fears and to embrace the journey with Jesus.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” –Isaiah 41:10