Last week during our Wednesday night children's program at church my friend, Rob, used an illustration I loved. He asked the children if they had a choice of traveling by bus or by plane for a long distance trip which they would choose. As they debated their choice, Rob pointed out that the bus might not be air-conditioned, would take longer, be less comfortable and would almost certainly not include a snack and beverage service. The children overwhelmingly chose the airplane.
Then Rob added a twist: What if the comfortable, fast, luxurious plane ride was going to drop you off in a parched, desolate desert and the more difficult journey on the bus would lead you to 2 weeks at Disney? As you might imagine the opinions changed immediately on which form of transportation to take.
His point was that it should be the destination that determines our choice--NOT just the conditions of travel to get there.
It was a segueway to a conversation about the journey of life and how often it seems that foolish people are having the best of this life, while those who are choosing wisdom have a less luxurious journey. What a reminder--even to this Mama three decades older than the intended audience!
I do ascribe to the belief that when it comes to our sanctification, this life often holds far more in the journey than we realize. But the traps of the comparison game we often play let these voices taunt us: 'It's not fair that they...'
I will confess one of my issues here (cringe). It used to drive me crazy to see people living 'the high life' in debt while we were working so hard to pay ours off. My frustration at what other people got to have/do while we were slugging away at what we felt was 'the right thing' meant our life wasn't nearly as fun.
I had similar feelings in college when others girls were much more popular with boys because of different moral choices. (I literally had a guy cancel a date with me my freshman year at Alabama when he found out I didn't drink alcohol.)
In both cases it wasn't really that I wanted what they had. I just wanted life to be easier--and I wanted it to happen sooner. I wish I were more mature, but the truth is, it took time for me to see that the freedom and peace that accompanies walking in wisdom are truly better than the roller coaster of insecurity that comes from walking outside God's Will.
I should know, in other areas of my life I have chosen the jet. I have been stranded in the desert. And when my repentent heart cried out for God to restore me to the path of life, He has been faithful to do so...even when it meant traveling by bus.
A friend going through a challenging time and I were discussing this analogy this morning. We agreed that while there is truth to the commonly repeated phrase among well-intentioned people is that "It's not the destination, it's the journey"--that is an oversimplification.
It is finding fulfillment in BOTH the lessons of the journey and the reward of the destination that mark lives lived intentionally with/for the Lord.