The subtitle for this blog is Reflections on the Journey. Being on a journey implies that one is moving, transitioning, traveling from one place to another. Every morning we start afresh, beginning with a new starting point, perhaps the same place we ended the previous night, many times a better place than where we ended the previous evening, sometimes, though, dreading the day ahead.
The people of Israel embarked on a journey from Egypt (the land of captivity) to the Promised Land. Along the way there were various challenges (James 1 tells us to consider it all joy when we encounter various trials) and without their leader Moses, they would have given up hope and gone back to Egypt. Many of their challenges were self-perceived pity parties. So it is at times with our journeys.
For many of us, gathering together with other believers each week provides the encouragement we need. But for many, if not most of us, additional encouragement is needed. I used to meet with a dear friend on either Wednesday or Thursday each week. He told me once that Sunday services were good, but he worked in such an environment that he would lose his focus, hope and courage were it not for our mid-week times together.
Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us to not give up meeting together but to consider how to encourage each other and spur each other on to love and good deeds. My experience suggests that many of us muddle through the week feeling very alone in our lives. Perhaps a spat or unresolved conversation with the spouse, or someone at work was not completely satisfied with our deliverables, or our work is increasingly unfulfilling on top of the fact that we’re struggling financially, whatever your situation, these types of things leave us feeling isolated and very alone. Some of our discomfort is of our own doing and some may not be.
During a stressful time in the past, I used to clear the seat beside me as I drove home from work. I would use those times to ask God to join me and then would spend my time just telling Him exactly what I was feeling and asking for His help. In that season, all my friends were also commuters and we spent most of our time away from home either commuting or working. There was very little time available for “getting together” or “just hanging out.”
During times like this, my personal journey was a daily battle, but the Lord also protected me and set my feet in the path He wanted me to go. Lamentations 3:21-24 became a reality for me. It says, Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”
John Donne’s poem No Man is an Island, says that if a clod of earth falls into the sea, Europe is the less. To be sure, for each of us not playing our part, our world is less than it might otherwise be. Today I am encouraged that there are some who recognize the dangers of walking alone. I wish there were more. Part of my journey today is being the listening ear, encouraging and sharing real life application of the eternal truths found in the scriptures. Perhaps you are someone who can share with others to encourage them, or perhaps you are in need of someone to listen and provide solid counsel. Success in life is not how many years we live, but how many lives have been touched by our encouraging hearts and hands.
Do you have others in your life who can encourage you? How have you helped another in their journey from here to there? We’ll talk in another entry about how to identify mentors who will build our faith and character. Have a blessed day.