Week 21: Tuesday – A Journey’s Purpose is Transformation

NepoQuote

 

Bible verse:

2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Quote:

To journey without being changed is to be a nomad.

To change without journeying is to be a chameleon.

To journey and be transformed by the journey is to be a pilgrim.

–          Mark Nepo, The exquisite risk

Internet devotion

THE WALK

John Ortberg, author of books, observed that the Bible is, among other things, a list of unforgettable walks.

The first among these walks was the one taken by God himself in the Garden of Eden during the cool of the day. And then there was Abraham. His walk was among those we could classify as a “difficult” one. This was when he has taken along with him, Isaac, on their journey towards one of the mountains of the land of Moriah. We remember the walk that Moses had made along with the children of Israel towards their walk to freedom in God’s Promised Land. Their path took them to the Red Sea where it parted before them.

There was Joshua. It was around the walls of Jericho that they made their historic march. There was also the walk of Jesus’ two disciples as they were going to Emmaus. They were the ones whom the Lord opened up the Scripture to. The result of that walk was life changing. They said to one another that their hearts were burning while he explained the Scripture to them.

And then there was Peter in his most unforgettable walk-experience on water. There was our Lord Jesus as he walked alone going to Calvary. It was the walk that altered the course of history.

Walking is an important aspect of the lives of those who chose to follow God. Every time a man of faith is going through his lifelong journey, he is pictured as walking [and not running]. And when we walk there is the important element of fellowship [Have you ever tried talking to someone while running?]. And as a general rule, God asked people to walk with him.

Perhaps the lasting picture that we have in the Bible is found in Psalm 23.

Psalms 23:4 (NLT)
4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

In the darkest valleys of life we are admonished to walk. We don’t run away from these valleys or even stop. We are to walk through it with calmness for the Lord is with us. In walking there is fellowship, determination, and surety.

JOURNEY MEANS TRANSFORMATION

Walking is a reminder that life is not only a journey but it is the journey of all journeys. Each one of us is in a multiple journey at the same time. Some short while others are long.

But there is something that we must remember about the journey. It is about transformation.

To journey without being changed is to be a nomad.

To change without journeying is to be a chameleon.

To journey and be transformed by the journey is to be a pilgrim

–          Mark Nepo, The exquisite risk

ILLUSTRATION

There was a story of a man who went through his own defining moment in life. And at that time he was newlywed and already settled down in a quaint lovely apartment. One normal afternoon, he received a letter from the government. At first he thought that it was a standard form of letter. He did not even bother to open it until they reached his car. But when it came to opening it up, he sat and was shocked by its announcement. The letter was orders for his temporary transfer to a place he had hardly known.

He said that at that time that he wanted only two things. First, he wanted for that letter to be a mistake. Second, he wanted for that place to be near.

He would never forget the overwhelming disillusionment that swept over him. And those emotions only intensified during his next month especially when he said goodbye to his young bride as he waited in a staging regiment for his upcoming overseas deployment. His entire life had turned on a coin in the direction to the other side of the world. He knew God but he thinks that God had let him down.

He felt ripped off, confused, resentful.

But then, it was at that time that he realized something important. On his way to the barracks, he went to his brother and he was in a “foul mood” for the entire weekend. And as he was leaving, his brother gave him a book. It was about a young missionary who had been martyred just two years earlier. The book’s title was Through the Gates of Splendor. This is their conversation.

Bro: I want you to take this book with you.

Him: I don’t want to read that.

Bro: I really want you to read it.

Him: I said I don’t want to read it.

Bro: [Walked around the table and took Him by the arm.] If you begin to read this book, you will never be able to put this down. Take it! Read it!

As he went away and opened the book, immediately, God began to speak to him. He devoured the book, page after page, picture after picture. He read names like he never heard before.

  • Jim Eliot
  • Nate Saint
  • Roger Youderian
  • Pete Fleming
  • Ed McCulley

Those men being dead, still spoke.

He read the book the entire night. He could not stop reading. By 10 am the next day he finished it and he was enraptured by the true story of bravery, commitment, and devotion. It was his defining moment. He was fighting for his life.

He just then realized that it was the perfect time for him to read the lives of those missionaries. It was just before going overseas. It was his Damascus Road experience. He got his focus off himself.

For the first time in his life, he began to accept the fact that his transfer overseas might have been arranged by God and that God’s world program somehow might include him. It was a wrenching experience for him but God got his attention.

It was during the second time reading it that he began to see Jim Eliot’s words: He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot loose. It dawned on him at last, what a fool he had been. How selfishly his life had been. He was appropriately rebuked. And that experience became a making in him as a man and the turning point of his spiritual walk.

Up until that night, he was interested in saving his life, not losing it—getting his way and not giving it up. Strangely, real life is about death. Life is being separated from what we want and being connected to what God wants.

He came back to his country a changed man.

Today the man has a flourishing ministry and a lot of people are listening to him. If I mention his name and his radio broadcast or his books, you will know him immediately. He is Charles Swindoll.

[Story lifted from the pages of his book, Meet Me In The Library, Kindle Edition, location 88]

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