Have you ever been on a journey that’s been real important, only to realise you’ve inevitably left something behind? It happens to the best of us. But what if the whole reason for the journey was to make sure no one - nothing - gets left behind?
On a mission
For many of us, we seem to have a calling or mission on which we base our whole life trajectory on. It could be achieving a dream, or finding a soul mate, or even reaching the pinnacle of personal fulfillment.
Sometimes, however, the path to getting there seems harder than we first anticipated.
I recall that, for most of my earlier years, I wanted to return to my homeland of India. Despite never being born there, and living all my life in Australia, I just knew that I would somehow end up in the land of my ancestors.
Sure enough, after waiting for over a decade, I achieved my dream of finding India; only to realise that, despite years of waiting and wanting to be there, India had somehow found me.
I can imagine that this may have been a similar journey for Joseph and Mary, as their journey is recorded in Scripture. They had waited most of their young lives to raise a child, and finally, after receiving the news that he was to be born, would shortly thereafter be forced on the run out of Israel, their home country, only to end up in a foreign land that they had never imagined returning to; in Egypt, of all places.
In hindsight, it is often worth travelling to a destination that you have lived your whole life wanting to be in.
For most of us, reaching our “dream destination” may take years of planning, saving, and yearning after, before actually even getting there. Indeed, enjoying the journey can seem more idealistic in comparison to the joy of reaching the destination itself.
When I had the opportunity to visit Israel, or the Holy Land, as it is known to many, it may seem hard to believe, but I never actually wanted to be there.
I somehow ended up taking a class during my masters’ degree which was a summer intensive - a four-week-course that had an ‘option’ of visiting Israel at the end of the semester.
“Why not”, I thought to myself.
Fast forward four weeks later, I found myself on the dusty road winding up to an old ecumenical building overlooking Jerusalem, and wondered what vast historical legacies lay between the path I was treading and the journey to the city below.
Perhaps this was a similar path that Jesus Himself must have taken many a time during his short life on earth, a journey marked by highs and lows, twists and turns, but eventually, ending up exactly where He was meant to be.
Reaching the destination
Sometimes, I have a hard time understanding the purpose of reaching a point in time where everything is supposed to be ‘perfect’. When finally reaching the ultimate destination, what happens next?
Could it be that the destination itself is not meant to be the end; that somehow, the whole idea behind finding the path and following the way to a prescribed point in time is to find a person’s destiny, rather than the destination itself.
Which brings us back to the beginning, and what is left behind.
I can’t help but think that many of us in life are on a journey we never thought we would be on. Somehow, along the way, we got lost. Perhaps many of us forgot where we were going, and where we would end up.
Maybe we need to stop and consider our starting point.
In Scripture, it clearly says that,
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” - Psalm 16:8-11
In other words, it was always God’s intention that we walk in the path that leads to life, that we would find joy in it - and even more than that, that He would never abandon us, or Jesus, for that matter, to a journey nor a destination we couldn’t find.
Perhaps the path that we were meant to follow has already been trodden.
We just need to find the way back to the Gift we left before our journey even began.
Joseph Kolapudi's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/joseph-kolapudi.html