How many times have you heard it said that we are all ‘on a journey’? This is applied indiscriminately to individuals going through a time of change, organisations seeking to reinvent themselves, political parties going through necessary redefinition, countries facing upheaval and even churches dealing with difficult issues. To say we are all ‘journeying’ is true but what does it actually mean – travellers we? Some individuals and communities choose travelling as a lifestyle – travel writers make a living out of it, travel documentaries entertain, ‘travellers’ move on together in community, ‘tramps’ keep moving away from something that haunts. Would you say that your life is life a journey? If so, where have you come from and where are you going? ‘These boots are made for walking’ goes the old song by Nancy Sinatra – how many miles, how many tears, how many smiles?
- ‘Life is just a journey’ – Princess Diana
- ‘Thank God for the journey’ – James Brown
- ‘Character is a journey, not a destination’ – William J Clinton
- ‘Always the journey, never the destination’ – Simon Rattle
- ‘The feeling remains that God is on the journey too’ – Saint Teresa of Avila
- ‘There are many paths but only one journey’ – Naomi Judd
You may not know that Romany communities originated in North India – most of us might assume an Italian heritage. There are two million speakers of the Romany language. One distinguishing characteristic is that Romany people are itinerant travelling communities and they have been persecuted for this – 500,000 were murdered in the holocaust. People often persecute others who are on a different journey to themselves or they may do so to you if critical of the journey that you are on. Perhaps in our own minds, we judge the journey of others too quickly without considering that God may be at work in ways we do not see or yet understand.
- ‘Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen’ – Benjamin Disraeli
- ‘All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travellers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken’ – Thomas Wolfe
- ‘Certain travellers give the impression that they keep moving because only then do they feel fully alive’ – Ella Maillart
- ‘Every person is different when he travels, and every travellers' story is uniquely his own’ – Dhani Jones
- ‘The travel book is a convenient metaphor for life, with its optimistic beginning or departure, its determined striving, and its reflective conclusion. Journeys change travellers just as a good travel book can change readers’ – Rory MacLean
Many quotes are featured in this Booster because there are so many interesting insights as people reflect on their path. Journeys capture public attention as they seem to be filled with romance and adventure:
- In 1872 Jules Verne published a fictional adventure, ‘Around the world in 80 days’
- Elizabeth Jane Cochran was born May 5, 1864, in Pennsylvania but assumed the pen name of Nellie Bly. At the age of 26, she set out to see if the world could be travelled in 80 days. Nellie she took with her the dress she was wearing, a sturdy overcoat, several changes of underwear, and a small travel bag carrying her toiletry essentials! She achieved it in 72 days with many adventures
- Captain Robert Falcon Scott died in the attempt to reach the South Pole before Roald Amundsen in 1912
- Sir Edmund Hillary climbed Everest in 1953 and also reached both South and North Poles
- In 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took 8 days get to the moon and back – 238,900 miles each way!
- On 7 February 2005, Ellen MacArthur DBE broke the world sailing record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe
Every journey begins with a first step. Sometimes the destination is known and sometimes it is unknown, but every journey ends with a destination. People may be running from something but they are always heading to something. Life is what happens along the way but journeys can lead to profound inner change through the conversations and circumstances we encounter.
- ‘I am a believer in the journey and enjoying the journey’ – Uday Kotak
- ‘Friendship has always belonged to the core of my spiritual journey’ – Henri Nouwen
- ‘The longest journeys start with the smallest steps’ – Cherie Blair
- ‘True friends challenge us and help us to be faithful on our journey’ – Pope Benedict XVl
- ‘It’s all part of my journey - I’ve done a lot of stupid things, but you learn by your mistakes’ – Ozzy Osbourne
The Bible is full of those who are on journeys - Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Jonah, the people of Israel, Mary and Joseph. We see lots of movement and strain in the journeys but non with more purpose than the one who came from heaven to earth so that we could go from earth to heaven.
- ‘But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ’ – Philippians 3:20
- ‘All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them’ – Hebrews 11:13-16
- ‘In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also’ – John 14:2-3
- ‘I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus’ – Philippians 3:14
John Bunyan’s epic ‘Pilgrims Progress’ from 1678 tells of the journey of a travelling pilgrim. ‘Christian’ is the central figure and Bunyan shows how his character and faith are shaped through his life in which he meets many who encourage him through tough times. Eventually, a friend called ‘Hopeful’ helps ‘Christian’ so that he doesn’t give up at his lowest point but makes it to the destination, the ‘Celestial City’. Words from Jesus are our signpost for the journey:
- ‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it’ – Matthew 7:13-14
Wherever you are on the journey, this destination is not a foregone conclusion but it is one you can find in the grace of God. It’s time to dust off those boots and press on the next leg of your journey with a new spring in your step.
TAGS – salvation, redemption, eternal life, heaven, perseverance