LIFE IS A JOURNEY, LIFE IS A RACE, LIFE IS A BATTLE
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12: 1-2)
A major Bible reading in our first session was from Hebrews 12 – which begins with the word “therefore”, thus telling us that this summary of the “journey of life” is the conclusion of what has been said before – in Hebrews 11…
Therefore, we look to this – often known as “God’s hall of fame of faith” – and to two characters in particular – Abraham and Moses – to help us in our JOURNEY OF LIFE…
THE JOURNEY OF LIFE – PART 1
ABRAHAM AND PUTTING OUR TRUST IN GOD…
INTRODUCTION: “BLIND MAN’S BUFF”
In one version of the game “Blind Man’s Buff” the one chosen to be “it” is blindfolded and then turned around and around so that they are disorientated, after which they are released to blindly stumble around trying to “tag” those who are silently moving around to keep out of their way.
Doesn’t life feel like this game so often! We can’t see where we are going, feel that we are being spun around by circumstances to the point that we are dizzy and confused by it all. And it feels that we are groping around in the dark trying to find our way to a goal that we cannot see or hear. It is scary, we feel alone, and sense that others are just laughing at our pathetic attempts to make sense of it all.
In another version of the game, however, although we are blindfolded, we have a “friend” who can see clearly the goal that we need to head towards. And although we are blind, they are able to call out directions so that we can get to our final destination. The only complication is that others – enemies – are calling out wrong directions to divert us from our goal or are just making so much noise that we can’t hear the true directions. The aim here is to know the voice of our “friend” and to trust them completely to guide us.
This is how our “journey of life” is meant to be. We might not know where we are going, it may feel that we are blind, unable to see one step in front of the other, but we are called to put our trust in Father God who will direct us along our journey till we reach our goal – eternal life in Paradise with Him.
Let us turn to the book of Hebrews and see how the “crowd of witnesses” are cheering us on in our journey of life with Abraham as our example…
BY FAITH ABRAHAM, WHEN CALLED TO GO TO A PLACE HE WOULD LATER RECEIVE AS HIS INHERITANCE, OBEYED AND WENT, EVEN THOUGH HE DID NOT KNOW WHERE HE WAS GOING. (HEBREWS 11: 8)
31 TERAH TOOK HIS SON ABRAM, HIS GRANDSON LOT SON OF HARAN, AND HIS DAUGHTER-IN-LAW SARAI, THE WIFE OF HIS SON ABRAM, AND TOGETHER THEY SET OUT FROM UR OF THE CHALDEANS TO GO TO CANAAN. BUT WHEN THEY CAME TO HARRAN, THEY SETTLED THERE. 32 TERAH LIVED 205 YEARS, AND HE DIED IN HARRAN (GENESIS 11: 31-32)
THE LORD HAD SAID TO ABRAM, ‘GO FROM YOUR COUNTRY, YOUR PEOPLE AND YOUR FATHER’S HOUSEHOLD TO THE LAND I WILL SHOW YOU.
4 SO ABRAM WENT, AS THE LORD HAD TOLD HIM; AND LOT WENT WITH HIM. ABRAM WAS SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD WHEN HE SET OUT FROM HARRAN. 5 HE TOOK HIS WIFE SARAI, HIS NEPHEW LOT, ALL THE POSSESSIONS THEY HAD ACCUMULATED AND THE PEOPLE THEY HAD ACQUIRED IN HARRAN, AND THEY SET OUT FOR THE LAND OF CANAAN, AND THEY ARRIVED THERE. (GENESIS 12: 1, 4-5)
Every day is a step or a leap of faith because:
“I don’t know what this day holds, but I know who holds this day”
Faith in God means that I put my trust in Him to lead me through my journey of life.
I know the destination (Heaven) but I don’t know which way I will be going to get there.
But I know Him who is “The Way” (John 14: 6) and I know that if I seek His will in all that I do each day then He will show me the path to take on my journey of life (Proverbs 3: 6).
And Abraham is cited as the great example of this…The Journey of Life begins with trusting God – when we have no idea where He is leading.
Does your life feel like this today?
Here is the wonderful truth about being a child of God going through the “Journey of Life”:
LESSONS FROM ABRAHAM ON TRUSTING GOD ON THE “JOURNEY OF LIFE”
- God called Terah, Abraham’s father, to go to the Promised Land – Canaan. But Terah did not obey! He left Ur – as he was called to do – and took his family with him – as he was called to do – but when he reached the city of Haran – which was only ½ way there – he stopped…and died.
Ur was a city in Mesopotamia which, at the time, was possibly the most advanced city in the whole world. It had everything there that the world had to offer. Not just material wealth. Not just every temptation that the body could lust for. But it was the “cradle of civilisation, the birthplace of lawgiving, the seat of human knowledge and wisdom. Ur WAS the world. But God called this family OUT of the world – and God calls us too to come OUT of the world on our “journey of life”.
Haran was a kind-of “half-way house” – neither in Ur (the world) nor Canaan (where God wanted him to be). It was a place of comfort and security. It was comfort in God without the obedience and the sacrifice that God called Terah to. Is this US too? Are we on the “journey of life” but saying “I’ve gone far enough LORD – it’s time for me to rest now and just live the rest of my days out in comfort”? Have you stopped when God is still calling you to step out on your “journey of life”?
- But, you say, I am old now and have done my “bit” and it is time for me to step aside and let others carry on the journey. Take care! As we have said already, the “journey of life” is only over when you are dead! Age is no excuse or hindrance.
If you do not know God then life can fool us into saying “I am too young to know where I am going on my journey of life” or “I am too old to change now – and besides it is time to settle down and rest and take my ease” – and so we stand still and fail to go on the journey that life is meant to be.
But if you DO know God then, like Abraham, you might be 75 years old but God STILL says that He has a plan for you – a ”journey of life” that He wants you to set out on
- We are never alone – He has promised to be with us always
If you do not know God and so do not know that He wants to be with you every step of your journey of life then it is no wonder that life can be pretty scary!
But if you DO know God then do not believe the lies of the devil when you FEEL that you are alone on your journey of life. Reject the feeling and believe the TRUTH
- He knows where we are to go in this life
If you do not know God then you will not know that He has a wonderful PLAN for your life and that means that life can be pretty scary and will often feel like there is no purpose and no hope and no future
But if you DO know God then you will know that he DOES have a plan for your life and you know longer have to base your life direction on feelings but on the TRUTH that He…
“Know[s] the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29: 11)
- We are not going to be travelling the journey of life on our own
If you do not know God then life can often feel so lonely – which is often so scary
But if you DO know God then you will be on your “journey of life” with your family of God – you will never be alone.
- We will only see one step at a time
If you do not know God then you will always be desperately wanting to see into the future – that is why so many look to horoscopes and clairvoyants and fortune tellers – but you can’t see what the future holds and this is so scary.
But if you DO know God then then you will know that even though you might not know what the day holds yet you know who holds the day and that He will be leading you one step at a time on your journey.
And what does this all demand from us?
- Trust: a DECISION that He IS going to lead us on our “journey of life” in the way that He wants us to go
- Faith: a DECISION that He has our good always in His heart and mind
- Hope: A DECISION of assurance that we do have a future and that it is going to be what God wants it to be
- Obedience: A DECISION that we are going to go where He leads and do what He commands
The “journey of life” can be pretty scary – which is a feeling. Our trust and faith and hope and obedience in Him is a decision that means that we shall not be ruled by our feelings but governed by our sure and certain assurance in Him.
Now…which do YOU think will make you happier and more successful on this “journey of life”? Putting your trust in your feelings? Or putting your trust in your faith in God? Will you be like Abraham today – mentioned in Hebrews as one of the heroes of the faith – and obediently go forward on the “journey of life” trusting that God will lead you into the unknown and knowing that God will bring you safely to your ultimate destination – Paradise for eternity?
And so we return to our picture of the “journey of life” being like a game of “Blind Man’s Buff”.
We have seen that we have been called to put our Trust in God to lead us along the path of life – even though we often cannot see one step in front of the other, even though we sometimes feel totally blind as to our direction and totally confused by our circumstances as to what is going on.
Just as in the game, we need to recognise that there are enemies (led by the great enemy, the devil) who will be seeking to confuse us, deceive us and overwhelm us with the “noise” of trouble so that we do not hear the clear direction of the LORD. We must resist the devil and he will flee from us.
We must keep our spiritual and mental eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith so that we know the right way forward. We must recognise His voice – and this comes through:
- Knowing Him through His Word
- Hearing Him through His Spirit
- Simply trusting in Him, having faith in Him, stepping out in Him.
Then, like Abraham, putting out trust in the LORD, He WILL lead us safely on the “journey of life”