Those of us who have traveled a bit, particularly for pleasure, may have mixed emotions as to the whole process. Passports, lines, delays, and frustrated expectations often take the edge off our enjoyment. We have had our share of the above, but we have always been seriously committed to advance planning that makes much of it easier. Usually with a tight budget, we always needed a plan B. In many ways the planning was as important as the journey. Perhaps this is your experience as well. The more surprises… the more setbacks.
We can also agree that there is often joy in surprises, but it is the surprise that disturbs the plan that we have trouble with. Keeping things basic and sticking to the plan or sequence seemed to work for us. Our choice in Europe was a Euro-Pass, in that we could get on and off the train at will, and everything was paid for up front, and with unlimited use. Every destination had at least two unreserved options for lodgings. We took things as they came but did the research. Everything was carried on our back and weighed no more than 30 lbs.
It is that same affinity for predictability that most of us carry through life. We plan for the important things; school and marriage, homes and children, jobs and vacations. retirement and finally, leaving this world behind with some kind of “grace and dignity’. We all have a different criteria for what that is.
It is not strange that our spiritual journey is something like the above; except it is about the destination more than the journey. We count our success upon how we have structured our lives. We experience in life the same myriad of frustrations and often rise above them with a plan B: often hardly of our own invention, but of His. The Holy Spirit would not relish the idea of being compared with a EuroRail pass, but knowing Christ paid for all our life’s excursions, He sees that we get back on track without having to wait for checked baggage. We carry the things we need with us at all times. He sees that it is not more than we can carry.
As to the journey itself; Our map is the Holy Word of God ….. infallible and accurate to the last detail; from the plain to promontory. We are always able to venture into the unpredictable knowing the predictability of His Grace and Love. No one but He, at times, is carrying our baggage for us; then only briefly. Whatever place we find ourselves, there is one universal language to carry us through and communicate. He is the translator- interpreter.
When we come to the point when our earthly travel days end, and as we anticipate our last trip the checklist must be clear.
Have we studied the map ( Word) thoroughly and navigated by it?
Is our ticket He purchased for us one-way?
We have packed nothing. Everything we need is there.
We have booked only one destination and discarded our Photo-ID. To be recognized only as “Good and Faithful”.
We then may be “Surprised by Joy” because of His Plan for us.