Over the decades, I’ve shared portions of my life journey with a variety of travel companions. I also figured out that I don’t always have control over who my travel companions will be. Some have been pleasant, encouraging, and faithful. Others have been very unwanted. At times, their presence has felt like an intrusion – even a violation. And they would not go away. Sorrow and Loss were the worst, surpassed only by Judgment. Well, no. I take that back. Betrayal was the very worst.
The events and circumstances that introduced these companions to me were also unforeseen and uninvited. In younger years, I remember the shock I felt as various intruders began to share my path for a distance. They stubbornly made their acquaintance with my somewhat naive heart. A few traveled too many life miles with me. I had to reconcile my thoughts about these unwelcome comrades. First, I had to recover from disbelief that they should be allowed to invade my world. Then, I realized I was helpless to disengage some of them, despite my best efforts. So, I had to accept their presence. After struggling with additional unwanted companions like Hurt, Sadness, and Disillusionment, I began to think differently about them.
Because I believe Jesus is the living God, the wonderful God-man, full of grace and truth, the very manifestation of God’s love and mercy – I found purpose in traveling difficult life paths. Often, I crumpled at the foot of the cross. Jesus poured His power and provision into my life. He strengthened me as I trusted Him. Jesus kept His promises. Did it look like I thought it would? Hardly! The positive, optimistic young woman I had been was changing. Thankfully not into a negative, pessimistic failure. Rather, I found myself becoming more believable, more real, more human. Seasoned, maybe.
Jesus has truly become my dearest travel companion. I decided to apply my heart to honor Him in all circumstances, even when traveling a stretch with Sorrow. I found God’s presence deeply encouraging. He introduced me to new, better travel companions. I deliberately grabbed their hands – literally inviting them onto my path. Hope, Cheer and Joy soothed my aching heart as I practiced steps with them. Kindness spurred hope in my soul as I emulated similar strokes. Strength and Surrender introduced me to Transformation and Peace. Although I would never have believed it, I even found holding hands with Grief nurtured authenticity and sincerity in my soul. I was definitely on a learning curve!
All these companions became resources in God’s hands to shape my life. They sculpted my character. Matter of fact, they became “friends.” As I intentionally pursued Christ, an interesting phenomenon awakened in my soul. And I concluded something: The presence of unwanted travel companions literally triggered the advance of Jesus’ interests in my heart . . . because I prayed for His interests and I chose His interests. His gospel has gotten more attention through my sufferings and difficulties than through easy travels. As I wrestle with life issues, not only do I know where I stand with Jesus. So does everyone else who witnesses my life. How unexpected to observe companions like Sorrow, Loss, Grief, and Betrayal somehow morphing into Courage, Fearlessness, Conviction, and Resolve inside me. This is good news. I know how unfinished I am!
I concluded something else, too. Having the living God, who overflows with love, kindness, and faithfulness, as my Escort in my journey of troubles and trials – is better than having temporary ease of a good life.
One day, I shall have Jesus and the ease of a good life. I’m journeying home. Until then, I look for opportunities to present the faithful, loving Christ to anyone who will listen. Do you personally know Jesus? He’s the best!
Article developed from Phil. 1:12-14.
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