This past weekend, while Betty and I were wandering around a Wisconsin antique and craft mall, I saw this sign – The Journey is the Destination. While that sounds good, there is a problem. Sure, Lambchow focuses a lot on the journey and adventure of following Jesus. But we are not wandering without purpose. We are not seeking adventure for the sake of the thrill. We do have a destination, a purpose and reward for this adventure of following Jesus.
The Psalmist wrote, “Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!” (Psalm 43:3–4, NLT) These few lines are packed with truth. There is a way, a progression, and a reward.
How do we know the way? As Betty and I were hiking in the woods of Wisconsin we followed a trail. Sometimes we knew we were on the right path because it was paved, or well traveled. But sometimes the trail was not so obvious, and we relied on sign posts. The trail markers for our adventure of following Jesus are His light and truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NLT) Notice that the Psalmist is specific, send out YOUR light and YOUR truth. We aren’t wandering around looking for any old glimmer of light or nugget of truth, we want God’s light and truth to guide us. We want Jesus.
The Psalmist marks out the journey of God’s light and truth. We begin in the wilderness where all we can see are flashes on the horizon like a lighthouse beckoning us to come closer. Soon we can distinguish the holy mountain. We know where we are going. As we get closer, we can begin to make out the shape of God’s Temple on the mountain. We begin to discern where God lives. As we enter the courtyard, we encounter the brazen altar where our sins are atoned for and our hearts are made right. This is the cross. We can’t walk around it, we can only go further by going through it. We then enter into God presence and the source of all of our joy which is expressed in praise and worship.
The Psalmist’s final exclamation, “my God!” proclaims their personal connection with God. That’s the destination, that’s the reward of this adventure of following Jesus. There are lots of little side benefits like growing new friends, being part of a community, support for the challenges of life, affirmation of the journey, peace, love, joy, the rush of being used by God, hope for today and tomorrow, and a sense of purpose and meaning. But the real reward is knowing Jesus in a person-to-person kind of way.
Unlike the proverb “The Journey is the Destination” Jesus followers recognize that there is a journey to enjoy but that we are going somewhere. Here’s the cool part. We can look at this as a big lifetime journey that takes us from earth to heaven. And there is truth in that. But we can also take the journey to Jesus each and every day. In fact, the big adventure is getting to know Jesus a little more each day. It’s like we arrive and continue the journey at the same time.
Feeling at little lost in your own journey? Pray like the Psalmist for God’s light and truth to show you the way. Embrace both the adventure and the destination of getting to know Jesus. The journey is important and thrilling, but the destination is grander than anything you can imagine.