Joy in the journey

One of my closest friends left yesterday. Her husband took a three-year assignment in Australia. *Sigh* To make matters worse, our kids are good friends. *Double sigh*

We’ve shed more than a few tears at our house over their leaving. It hurts.

Both the leaving and the staying have their challenges. Australia sounds like fun, for sure, but our friends’ decision to uproot their lives and move to the flip side of the world didn’t come easily.

Before she left, my friend said she’d been mulling over a certain phrase she recently saw on a piece of jewelry. It said, “Joy in the journey.”

Over the past few weeks that theme has been etched in her brain. It’s a reminder that while God’s plans may take us to unexpected places, the journey is just as important as the destination.

God has plans for us as we go.

Take Jacob, for example.

In Genesis 28, he was traveling from Beersheba to Haran on his quest to find a wife. Using a rock for a pillow, he fell asleep. In his dreams he saw a stairway to heaven, with angels climbing up and down. God stood above the stairway and spoke to Jacob in his dream.

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you. Genesis 28:15, NIV

Jacob woke up with a fresh assurance of God’s nearness. If you read the rest of Jacob’s story, you’ll find that his journey wasn’t without a few bumps along the way. (Working seven years for the wrong woman must have felt like a significant detour.)

But God was with him. And Jacob’s journey prepared him to be the father of the nation of Israel.

So, today, amidst my tears, I’m thanking God for the journey – both my friend’s and my own. I’m thankful for his nearness and provision. And I’m trusting him to get us all safely home.

Let’s talk: How do you handle good-byes? Which do you think is harder – the leaving or the staying?

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