LIFE is a journey. That is probably a well-worn and overly mythologized statement, but, as Albert Camus said, such is life.
If we were to make the most of the analogy – for the purposes of sustaining our living hope through the lifespan – we might invest in some journey metaphors. Three come to mind: laboring in childbirth, tour of duty, and one championship season. Each provides the imagery of 1) a tumultuous journey, 2) an end result, and 3) key indicators of success (and of hope) along the way.
Firstly, though, I want to confess that for many years I was afraid of my journey. I felt there was no way I could sustain a good life. I was afraid of failing. I feared the journey was too long, though I didn’t ever want to die. But when I was truly won to Christ (like, when I fully surrendered, and grace permeated my entire life by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit) two things happened immediately: 1) my fear of not being able to sustain this ‘good life’ vanished – it was no longer about my effort; it was my surrender and his power, and 2) I became fascinated with Glory and was no longer afraid to die (though I still did not want my family to suffer losing me).
Laboring Through Childbirth
I suppose many women will have their own thoughts, but the laboring process is ebbing and flowing, acutely painful journey, mostly with a beautiful result at the end. When we can see any journey we are on as inherent with its painful contractions, times when we need to breathe through them, we will endure these pains through faith because of the result we hope for – what is birthed will be something that attests to the glory of God.
Tour of Duty
Every soldier overseas, far away from family, his sweetheart and children, is both alone when away from them yet never more fulfilled in serving his country. An amazing spectrum of contrasting emotions, as in laboring through childbirth, is evident. The tour of duty will be the making of him, as he gets through it. What doesn’t kill him makes him stronger, and there is sound biblical basis for that philosophy.
The Championship Season
All championship seasons feature a pre-season, a series of home-and-away fixtures, before the playoffs commence in earnest, in finding the best team/player. There are ups and downs for every champion and for every champion team, but it is the champion ethos to bounce back resiliently. This is all about harnessing the emotions, preparing and executing well, and foraging each performance for things to learn to stay ahead of the pack. When the championship is won, all the pain that was endured is forgotten.
We need to remember, in life, we compete only with ourselves.
Life is a journey encapsulating innumerable micro journeys. The best life is about finding a way to get beyond fearing the overall journey so we enjoy the ebbing/flowing facets of each journey. We would no longer fear failure or reaching the end of the journey itself. Life is a journey: it is what it is.
What strength is experienced when we journey faithfully (as best we can) with God! Only by faith in God can we endure the journey. Only by accepting life as it is, on its own harsh terms, will we have the strength to sustain it.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.