Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged. Numbers 21:4
Are you one of those people who likes destinations. Or, do you like journeys?
Never could two people be more different as travel companions than my husband and me. He loves every portion of a journey. He likes to plan it, map it out, pick all the spots to see, have travel brochures, a book about the place we are going and interesting tidbits of information of the history of the road traveled.
I, on the other hand, travel as a necessary means to getting to a destination (and because Jerry loves it and I love Jerry). If it is a road trip, napping is my favorite pass time. Like an infant in a car seat, five minutes into a trip, I am out like a light. Early in our marriage I bought Jerry the book Why Stop? because it has the text of every historical marker in Texas in it. When he would want to interrupt my naps by stopping at historical markers, I would just remind him to read about it when he got home and go back to sleep.
Over the years we have had some incredibly memorable vacations. Most of them were good really good trips. But, one of my favorite to reflect on was the year we took our three children to west Texas for a week of camping in the desert. Jerry had regaled us with stories about Balmorhea State Park, home of the world’s largest spring fed swimming pool, located at the foot of the Davis Mountains. We were planning to camp out, swim, check out the observatory in the Davis Mountains and see the local sites.
The only thing between us and our glorious destination was about 550 miles of Interstate 10 going through the desert in West Texas. Three children in the car meant that my nap time was interrupted by my duties as chief referee. Each time I would rouse myself to intervene in the argument of the moment, I questioned if we had made progress or if we were on a giant treadmill. Nothing ever changed. Nothing that is, until we were almost at our destination. Then the weather changed and it began to rain.
And it rained.
And it rained.
And it rained.
Do you know what there is to do when you are camping in the desert and it is raining? NOTHING! And, that’s pretty much what we did for the week. We couldn’t swim because of the lightening. We couldn’t go to the observatory because of the cloud cover. We couldn’t go through the forts because it was too wet. So, the whining and complaining started. Once Jerry shut me up, we had to address the whining and complaining of the children. My fondest memory of the trip was counting the mile markers on the way home. When we pulled into the drive way, my then 14 year-old daughter jumped out of the car and kissed the driveway.
It was a horrible trip. But, it made a great memory for us to laugh about in the years since. And, so it is with many spiritual journeys. If you find that the trip the Lord has you on is not the one you planned, don’t let your soul become discouraged. Check out the mile markers along the way and prepare to kiss the driveway when you get home. This trip will be one you will always remember.
Lord, do not let us become discouraged with our circumstances. Amen