Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Journey

Last week I posted a bit on thoughts of heaven.  To continue a bit in this train, I wanted to write a bit this morning about the journey and the process.  There is a fantastic hymn written by Henry Francis Lyte, called Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken.  Besides the fantastic, Anglican grammar that calls to me from these verses - it is the story of the journey to constantly follow Christ that compels me to worship when I hear/sing this hymn.

The first verse says:

Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee;
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my All shalt be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I've sought or hoped or known;
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.

This weekend I was reminded again about the loneliness that following Christ can bring into your life.  I've seen women who choose to follow Christ even when their husbands refuse to acknowledge that He exists.  I've witnessed high school students who confess that Jesus is Lord, and then have to go home that night to parents who would rather drink themselves into oblivion than step foot into a church.  There are young children who have faith that can move mountains, when their parents merely go through the motions - thinking that if they just show up, they will be blessed financially.

It was a sermon on doubt, that reminded me all the more that I have this lonely journey in my own life.  At times it seems that no one can escape this portion of the journey.  I have yet to meet a single soul who has lived out their life following Christ and everything has been huge, wonderful, lush green hills and no valleys of despair.

This brings me to the last verse of this hymn:

Haste, then, on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith and winged by prayer;
Heaven's eternal day's before thee,
God's own hand shall guide thee there.
Soon shall close the earthly mission,
Swift shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope soon change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

This journey on the earth is hard, often times destitute, and even filled with people who forsake you.  What should we expect though?  "If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you," John 15:20b.  There are strong divisions in families, because there are strong-willed people in families.  The only thing that will bring you through these times of hardship on the journey is to focus on the fact that one day we will go from Grace to Glory.  The earthly mansions will be closed, our pilgrim days will be ended - and we will forever praise and worship in full sight of God, our Awesome Savior.  Rely on God's Hand - He is surely faithful to guide you through the valleys, even over the hills, and into our heavenly home.

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