Monday, May 18, 2009

“Are We There Yet?” (Part 1)

“He looked for a City which had foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:10).

It is a question that has been asked countless times on adventurous treks across great distances throughout the history of travel, “Are we there yet?” Some trips seem to take forever, and so the question is repeated incessantly by some whining soul stuck in the back seat, while a besieged dad furrows his brow and a long-suffering mom rolls her eyes -- “Are we there yet?”

There are, of course, a few other questions tossed in for variety. “How much farther is it? How much longer is this going to take? When are we going to get there?” We can all relate to this, for we have each been the kid who asked the questions; and the parent who ran out of patience somewhere between Denver and Dallas. “Are we there yet?”

But the question goes beyond the nuisance of a child trapped in a trip with nothing more to do than play the alphabet game, or I Spy. It is a question asked by travelers of all ages who journey through life in quest of something – something more than they have known; something other than the status quo; something sure, something secure, and something satisfying. And when we peel back all the superficial layers we discover we are really seeking something spiritual. Indeed, in the sacred words of Scripture,
“We seek a city, whose builder and maker is God.”

Perhaps you are one such pilgrim. A sojourner who set out long ago in the springtime of hope, stocked with enough supplies to sustain you during those arduous desert crossings and bring you refreshed and tan to your desired destination. Resolved in your purpose, decisive in your steps, confident in your God – you pressed forth convinced that just over the next mountain your eyes would catch sight of the city, whose builder and maker is God. But, alas, the road stretches oonward for what seems like miles. In the words of George MacDonald, “For the sake of the vision God longs to give you, you are denied the vision you want.” In other words,
“No, we’re not there yet.”

And now, long into your journey, you find that there are more mountains than you at first anticipated. And dark woodlands with brush so thick it tore at your clothing, and left more than a few scratches on your arms and legs. Then there were bugs, and snakes, and spiders, and bogs. And there have been bandits who have pilfered your pouch and depleted your stock. Rodents that have nibbled away at the grain, while fears chip away at your soul.

And though you have suffered the blow of many misfortunes, yet your faith is still undaunted. Sorta. And deep down in places you don’t like to talk about there is a gnawing doubt about whether or not you are really doing the prudent thing. Whether or not this journey is worth it after all. Whether or not those who thought you foolish to leave on such a fancy voyage of faith were right.

“Are we there yet?” No, pilgrim, we are not. But tomorrow I will tell you something that will put a bounce back in your step, and rejuvenate your battered soul with a living hope.

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