More often than not, I tend to think that I’m about to arrive at my destination. The goal that I’ve had in mind is so near that I can barely contain my optimism, anticipating how good it would feel to have the desired object in view. It seems I’ve been pushing, hacking, straining through the jungles since forever, stretching my endurance to the point of exhaustion. It’s at times like this that I want to ask God, “O God, please … are we there yet??”
As a kid I saw a movie set in the 1800s about a young boy and girl who must forego their fears and trust a guide as he navigates them through the Rocky Mountains. Their faith in him is tested to the extreme. They are exhausted, struggling through the snow, but he tells them, “It’s just over this next rise. Come on, you can do it. Trust me. It’s just over this next one,” without knowing for sure whether it is.
It turns out he is right. Though they had crossed several ridges without gaining sight of the land west of the Rockies, and had to be stretched ever more so each time they failed to see what they had hoped for, they finally gain sight of their promised land. And it was more than worth it.
That’s how I feel. God telling me, “It’s just over this next little ridge. Just a little more, Sam, and we’ll see it together.” The struggle I have is, it feels like He’s been telling me the same thing from the beginning, when we first started to climb the Rockies together. But it’s discouraging when you think that you’re almost to a goal, only to find another impasse to traverse. Was God lying to me when He told me, from the beginning, “Just a little further. I promise I won’t let you down”?
How can God be telling the truth, when I haven’t yet arrived? When I realize I’m not even close to where I want to be, knowing that it will take far more work and effort—knowing that I may not ever get there; or, if I do, the landscape will have changed so dramatically that I won’t recognize it?
It’s discouraging only to a point, when I realize that I’ve already reached my destination.
I arrived at it before I even took a step forward. My destination, perhaps even before I realized it, has been to be close to God. To discover His goodness, His righteousness, His faithfulness, His solid Rock, His Son, His mercy and love, His forgiveness, His grace and kindness and joy and peace and gentleness, how He makes things right even when they go wrong. I’m finding that the thing I want most, truly, is not a changing landscape, but a partner to share it with as we pursue it together.
God provides that. He knows we can’t live apart from Him. So He’s planted in His children a heart’s desire to know Him deeply, passionately, as Lord. This world fell, and it wasn’t what God had in mind. But I believe the terrible setbacks we encounter aren’t detours from our destinations, but, if you believe it, shortcuts to finding Him.