Saturday, May 1, 2010

God, am I there yet?

I had the pleasure of joining my son on his fieldtrip this week. If you have never joined your child on a field trip, you don't know what you are missing. Sitting on a bus, for a one hour drive to the zoo, with fifty second graders, is definitely an experience to remember. I sat in the seat behind my son and two of his friends. I settled in my seat and began to read a book that I had brought for the long ride. Over the years, I have developed a pretty neat ability. The ability to "block out" the noise of children. If you are a mother, you know what I am talking about. The noises of children playing and talking becomes like music to your ears instead of a nusence. So, with all the noise on the bus, I was able to sit and relax and dive into my book. To the right of where I was sitting, across the isle from me, was a little girl. She had big brown eyes and perfect little braids, placed precisely, all over her head. Just to make this flow easier, we will give her the name, Penelope. (I've always liked that name.) I would glance up every now and then, and catch her looking at me. She wouldn't say anything at first, only smile back at me. I reached inside the satchel I had with me, and grabbed a bag of skittles I had brought along for a snack. (Hey..don't judge me..I'm a candy lover.) I asked her if she would like some skittles, and she reached her hand out to take some. We were instant friends. I began reading my book again, still hearing the activity around me. I heard Penelope being urged to play, by the girl sitting in the seat with her. She was not interested. She would just look at me or look ahead at the direction we were going in. Then she asked me, "Are we almost there?" "No", I said. "We just left. We have a ways to go." She looked dissapointed. A few moments later, "Are we almost there now?" "No, I said, "We still have a little while." A few moments later, "Are we almost there?" "We are about half way there now," I said. She must have asked this a dozen times while we were riding. And all along, the other little girl sitting with her, pleaded for some attention from her. The only thing Penelope was worried about was getting to the zoo. Again she asked, in a different way this time, maybe hoping to get a different response if she asked differently. "About to be there?" she asked. The answer was the same, "Not yet, almost." I could see the excitement and elation wailing inside of her eyes, each time I would tell her that we were closer. All the while, the small little girl on the side of her longed to play with Penelope. She would stare at the other children enjoying their playing, in the seats all around her. Her face was sad and filled with jealousy. I felt her small heart sinking each time she would nudge Penelope to talk to her. She just wanted to enjoy her trip to the zoo, like all the other children were, but my new little friend was not interested. Only worried about reaching her destination. One more time, she asked me, "Almost there?" "Almost," I responded. We pulled up to the zoo and her big brown eyes somehow grew larger. The bus stopped and I leaned over the seat to whisper to her, "Guess what? We are here." She began to smile a smile that took up her entire face. She even ran out of her seat, rushing to get off the bus. The teacher near the door of the bus, fussed at her for running ahead and made her sit back down. She eventually was able to leave the bus and she ran laughing to finally enjoy the zoo. I thought alot about her while I was walking around. She was not in my chaperone group, so I did not see much of her after we arrived. She reminded me of myself and many others I know. So many times, we are on a journey and we miss out on the true meaning of it. God has many journeys for us in our lifetime. Some are painful, some are longsuffering, some are full of joy, some are enlightening and some are full of surprises. I have realized that we are much like Penelope, waiting in anticipation for her journey to end. She was so worried about getting to the end of her journey, that she missed out on the best part. She missed the journey. She missed out on that little girl that was sitting next to her pleading to get her attention. All she wanted was to get to the end of it. We do that. We are so worried about getting to the end of our journey, making it through it, and getting over it, that we miss out on what the journey is all about. We miss out on the lesson of the journey. We miss out on the people and relationships that are on the journey with us. We concentrate too much on getting out of the journey alive and still standing, that we forget that we are alive while we are going through it. Each part of a journey, is a new journey we must take. We spend too much time wondering why we are there, and forget to enjoy the place we are in. We have to take it ALL in! The good, the bad, and the ugly. Never forgetting, that God knows exactly where HE has us, so we don't have to worry. We just need to live out our journey and let it become a part of us. Each journey, each trial, each struggle, each celebration, is helping mold us into who we will be in God. So many times, I cry and plead with God to just get me through the journey HE has me on. And when it is all over, and I see where HE was trying to bring me, it all makes sense to me. So, I end up missing out on the journey, becuase I was too worried about it being over. I allow my anticipation to ruin my enjoyment of the process of the journey I am on. Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to give you hope and not to harm you." Why do we worry where we are going and when we will get there, when God is leading us? God is the key that will unlock the hidden treasures within our lives and hearts. Each journey is like looking for a treasure chest. The best part of finding the treasure, is the hunt itself. It is the adventure that we live out within ourselves. It will challenge us in ways that we never thought possible. It will bring out our strengths and drain us of our weaknesses. Instead of coming to this realization, we nag God the entire time. "Am I there yet?" "When will this be over?" "I can't wait to be through this!" Instead we should be saying, "Thank you God for this journey. Teach me to find a new place within myself that I never new existed. Help it to bring me closer to you Lord." Hebrews 12: 1-2, "...and let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus on whom our faith depends from start to finish." Let us not forget that while we are on our journey, running our race, that Jesus is right on the side of us running with us, cheering us on to the finish. And that is the time that we get to know HIM in a way that we never have before. That is our time of deep fellowship with Jesus. That is the time that we must look inside of our journey and enjoy HIM. He is the one we can miss out on while we are worrying about finishing. After our visit at the zoo was finished, we all piled back onto the bus to make the ride home. It was a more quiet trip, many kids were worn out and drained from playing so hard. I turned around to see where my new little friend Penelope was. She sat slumped over, leaning up against the seat in front of her, fast asleep from her journey. Lord God, help us to remember that where ever we are, you have placed us there for your purpose. Thank you for each journey and each treasure we will find within it. And when it is all over, and our journey is complete, help us find rest in YOU! Phillippians 1:6, "And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again."

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