At my favourite beach, as I look towards the west, the beach curves around and I’ve always wondered what’s beyond that bend. The last time I was there, very early in the morning, I decided I would go and see.
Sandy beach gave way to great rocks. I had to focus every step along the way and it began to feel like a workout. But it was worth it, because I wanted to see what was around the bend. Suddenly, I realized that I was so caught up in the pursuit of my goal that I was missing the beauty along the way. The bay stretched out to my right, completely placid, not a ripple in the surface. The sun sparkled on the ocean as two herons glided across the expanse, their massive wings dipping into still water, leaving showers of droplets in their wake.
Pulling my eyes back to the goal, I realized that I had reached that point in the beach, and finally I saw what was beyond the bend…another stretch of beach leading to another bend. Don’t you just love those ‘aha’ moments when you grasp a timeless truth? This is what impacted my spirit afresh during this experience.
1. Life is a journey, not a just destination. We can become so focused on a goal, good as it may be, that we miss the beauty and the value of the experiences along the way. Even for the Christian, our goal is more than simply reaching heaven…it is living in relationship with Jesus every step of the way, completely present in the ‘now’.
2. There is a destination, not just a journey. I know it sounds like this one contradicts the first one, but it doesn’t. Life without a goal becomes meaningless. Scripture tells us that God’s will for each one of us is that we “…press on towards the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil.3:14) As we submit to Him, He will unfold His unique plan for each of us.
3. There are going to be times when life feels like a workout. Sometimes the journey we see ahead of us can be discouraging if we only view the obstacles along the way. It would be easier to choose another way or not tackle the journey at all. What if we see the obstacles as stepping stones to progress? Even when we have to take our physical eyes off the goal because the way in rough, we can still see the goal with the eyes of our spirit.
4. There is always another bend beyond the one we’ve just reached. That’s the way life is…challenge after challenge, trial after trial, disappointment after disappointment, joy after joy, triumph after triumph. We’ve all heard it said: Either you are in the midst of a trial, just coming out of one, or just going into one. James 1:2,3 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”