Life is a Journey
From about midway through my Primary school and throughout my high school years, I schooled in Kakamega city, 500Km from where my parents lived. Whenever we closed school and it was time to go back home, I would board a bus for the long ride. On one of such particular trips back to Nairobi, I happened to sit beside a student from a neighboring school. We soon picked up a conversation. Halfway through the journey around Nakuru, he had to alight because he had arrived at his home. The bus stopped, and he took all his bags, said goodbye, and left the bus.
As other people were still alighting, he came to where I was seated and convinced me to follow him from the window. Of course, it was a good idea if we could continue with the conversation. But something was holding me back. What about my parents who are waiting for me at home? Maybe if no one were waiting for me, I would have alighted from the bus and followed him. And I would have then canceled the journey to Nairobi. Other issues holding me back were that I had set my mind to go all the way; even the money I had paid was to go all the way. I had focused my mind on arriving home and meeting my parents. Nothing could distract me. However, that particular term had been a hard one. I had flopped seriously, and I feared meeting, especially my dad. He was very detailed with our report cards whenever we would close the school term. But never the less, there was nowhere else to go but home.
Life is not a Destination.
In his essay, Self-Reliance, American author Ralph Waldo Emerson argues, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” In his article, he intends to guide people to live peaceful lives. He says that to have a meaningful life, one must follow their inner voice and do what they like. We can only feel satisfied
and content in life by committing ourselves wholeheartedly to our work. But he could not address the question of what happens in the afterlife. As a believer, one should not rely on human wisdom. The Bible teaches us to rely on God. Life’s journey is not just to have a goal in life and strategies to obtain that goal so that if you don’t achieve the plan, you encourage yourself to enjoy an average life. A destination is a concrete goal in which one will invest what is needed to arrive there.
Eternity is Man’s Final Destination
When we are born, life introduces us to the world where we learn how to interact with the world. Our parents and guardians are the foremost teachers in our initial stages. Later we are introduced to other authority figures who shape our worldviews. We go through the rhythms until we graduate from university, college, or a technical school and get married. We get engrossed in raising a family until our children raise other families, which is the cycle for most. There are daily goals to work towards, but if we lose sight of our ultimate destination, our journey through life’s issues becomes meaningless. As believers, we miss the opportunities that God gives us throughout life to refine our character, give Him glory, share Him with others, and ultimately prepare us for a life of eternity with Him.
The Bible says that it is appointed for a man to live once and then, after that, face judgment (Heb.9:27). During judgment, we will give an account of how we spent our life in time. God, the just Judge, has set a day by which He will judge the world by the measure of Christ (Acts 17:31). For the Believers, we will be judged based on our work in the kingdom, and the unbelievers will be judged for not accepting salvation through Jesus Christ. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus told a parable on the importance of investing what God has given us with eternity in view. Death is not the end; life continues in the realm of eternity which is the destination of life’s journey.
Life compared to Eternity.
Jacob refers to his life as a pilgrimage. He sees himself as a stranger living in a foreign country on his journey home to his destination. He understood that he was not at home; his permanent residence was in heaven. He counted his life by days and reckoned that his days were few. Though he had already lived one hundred and thirty years, compared to eternity, his years were indeed too few even to count. Jacob observed that his journey in life has been far much shorter than those who had gone ahead of him. Jacob’s answer to Pharaoh impressed him because it reminded him that worldly success and pleasure could not last long enough to satisfy him. After our short and weary pilgrimage on earth, the promise of an everlasting home in heaven is the only worthwhile thing to live for Hebrews 11:13.
Many great people have lived and done great things in today’s generation. Still, if they did not have a relationship with God, the story changes in eternity because a life lived without Jesus being at the center is a wasted life. We have to be intentional about investing in knowing and walking with Jesus by studying and obeying His Word. The more we walk in obedience, the more God reveals Himself to us in our situations. Our journey through life is not guesswork or a kind of gambling. God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths to guide us every step of the journey.
How to Journey through Life’s challenges
According to Philippians 3:13-14, we need to remove our focus from our bad past experiences and shift our focus to what lies ahead – our destination. God has allowed the various circumstances to deal with us and mold us to be like Him. We cannot outsmart God because we are His creation. The best thing is to view life like Jacob and understand that we are passing through life to our final destination – eternity. Amid the ups and downs, investing our time on earth serving and glorifying God is the wisest decision one could ever make. God is awaiting us at the end of time to usher us into eternity either in His presence or forever cut off from Him. If man was created to love and serve God eternally in His presence, then a Christless eternity is the most gruesome experience ever for any human.
In Matthew 7:13-14, the way to eternal life is narrow. Jesus is the only way and the only door, John 10:9 and John 14:6. The wide road leads to destruction, and many are walking on it. Here, everyone does their things the way they want and feel. Life is a journey with a path that may not be straight and predictable, and there are many lessons to learn from all our experiences, both good, bad, and ugly. Some are heartbreaking and painful, and others bring joy and fulfillment. All these should keep us on the narrow path leading to eternal life, who is Jesus.
Feel free to reach out to me through [email protected] to share discoveries that you have made on life being a journey. Share with other people in your networks so that they also get a correct perspective of what life really is. Form groups to discuss this further in more detail.
Joy Minayo is a disciple-maker in the Activate Kenya community, and she enjoys using online media writing blogs to help mobilize disciples towards reaching the unreached.
Genesis 47:7 commentaries: Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to pharaoh; and Jacob blessed pharaoh. (n.d.). Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages. https://biblehub.com/commentaries/genesis/47-7.htm
How should Christians respond to ‘Life is a journey, not a destination?’. (2021, April 26). Crosswalk.com. https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/how-should-christians-respond-to-life-is-a-journey-not-a-destination.html