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Travel Companion

I spent a lot of time this week making travel arrangements. Our career involves flights to many different locations to speak at churches and conferences. In addition, a missionary friend of mine is visiting the states soon and I have been searching for the best flight options for him. In the process of making reservations, I encountered numerous references to traveling companions. These are there, of course, because most people do not fly alone and the airlines want to give incentives to be my preferred carrier. Individuals tend to travel in groups because they want to share the memories associated with the trip whether they are business accomplishments or family experiences.
As I read Psalm 84 this morning, it struck me that this passage has been a lifelong travel companion to me. I was amazed at how many sayings in this song have been significant in my spiritual development and in the way I have raised my family.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty! . . . Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” (v. 1, 10) These words have been set to music by Chris Tomlin in a song simply entitled, “Better is One Day.” That song is a catchy tune that has been sung by millions and repeated in my head millions of times. When life has thrown difficult circumstances my way this song has reminded me that setbacks are temporary while living in the presence of God is permanent. When life has given me rich experiences this song has reminded me that it will be even better when we are living face to face in His presence.
“My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” (v. 2) There are many times I feel in my soul the brokenness of life. Making a living is harder than it was supposed to be. Because of our imperfections, relationships take more work to maintain than God intended. The great memories of life fill our hearts with joy but are frustratingly short-lived. The disappointments leave a longing in my soul for what is truly permanent. God will always be there and He has everything I need. I have always found it interesting that Jesus said, “I am the bread of life, I am the light of the world, I am the way, I am . . .” He is ultimately what we are looking for but the temporary nature of life on earth requires us to be engaged in activities that are a mere shadow of the real life God has waiting for us. Psalm 84 has helped sharpen my focus on what matters the most.
“I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (v. 10) This has been a simple, straightforward reminder that humility is always in order. I remember looking for the parade route at Disneyland when one of the men sweeping the streets paused, pointed down the road and said, “It is over there.” The thought crossed my mind, we are just like that man. The real show is Jesus and we are performing our duties in life while we point to the Savior and say to others, “He is over there. The real show is that way.”
“No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” (v. 11) This is the verse we hung our parenting on. We told our kids repeatedly that God would take care of them if they sought to walk blamelessly. We tried to be careful to define “blameless” as a humble pursuit of excellence as opposed to a self-centered pursuit of perfection but we challenged them nonetheless. We believed that God would honor them, guide them, and help them find their God-given dreams if they would keep make Him their travel companion in life. We have certainly had difficult times with our kids but so far so good on this front.
I don’t know what thoughts, songs or passages of the Bible have helped you in your journey but I know this passage has been a faithful friend on the rollercoaster ride of my life.

One Response

  1. I’ve relied on Proverbs 3:5-6 a lot over the years, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; (6) think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.”

    It reminds me he’s sees the future and knows all the details of life and what I’m going through. It also reminds me I need to be doing the things that please Him & keep Him involved in all I’m doing for me to have success in my life’s ventures.

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