Have you ever taken a long trip with your kids, and heard this? If you haven't heard this, then you probably haven't driven more than 90 minutes with your children.
But in truth, we are not much different than our children. We like the idea of the destination, but we don't like the idea of the journey. We want to enjoy the fruits, without the labor.
The First Passover and JourneyRecall the story of the first Passover, in the book of Exodus. The Hebrews were told by God to leave Egypt on short notice. They packed up their essentials ("go-bags," if you will), and headed out, not even waiting long enough for their bread to rise.
And off they went on what amounted to be a 40-year journey.
During those years and years, can you imagine how often the Israelite parents heard, "Are we there yet?" Those parents didn't have DVD players or a Nintendo DS to occupy their children.
It's hard to imagine, but I guess 40 years in the wilderness is slightly worse than driving down I-95 to south Florida. There is nothing like crossing the GA-FL border and realizing you have only 360 miles to go. (There's a palm tree. There's another palm tree. There's another . .")
The Hebrews wanted out of Egypt, and they wanted to be in the Promised Land, but they didn't want to trust in God's provision of the time in-between. They wanted safety and provision from God on their terms.
Our Journey TodayWhen it comes to our spiritual journey, we are not much different than those Hebrews wandering in the wilderness:
- We want heaven, but we don't want to endure in life's struggles.
- We want spiritual maturity, but we don't want the daily disciplines of personal prayer and Bible reading.
- We want the gospel to spread, but we don't want to make significant sacrifices to make it happen.
But if you are reading this post (or ignoring it), you know the answer is "No."
ParentingWe parents, especially if your children are preschool or elementary-age, wonder the same. We are physically and/or emotionally exhausted and wonder when we will be done.
We want respectful kids, but we don't want to discipline that 4-year old one more time. We want a good relationship with our children, but we fail to yield our desires and schedules to build into their lives. We want teenagers who are independent, but we don't want to go through the struggle and fear of letting go (and we don't have an on-going exit plan).
(And don't think I'm judging anyone. I'm more guilty of these things than anyone else.)
Not "There" Yet
What do we do? We follow the example of the Hebrews leaving Egypt at the first Passover:
- Pack your bag. Understand the essentials of what you really need for this journey, as a disciple of Christ, and as a parent.
- Take the first step. Realize that you may have to make many changes, but start with one.
- Move. Make progress. Pursue your goal (as a disciple and as a parent) continually. Get help and support from others. Keep enduring, knowing that life will be full of pressures and challenges.
- Don't stop. Don't look back (one mistake that the Hebrews made). Don't settle for anything less that what God has for you. Keep the faith. Know that God offers hope, rest, and salvation. He has proven His commtement to you through sacrificing His Son as the atonement for our sins.
"There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience." (Hebrews 4:9-11)