Page 249 was a long day — in fact it ran overtime by the time we got home, thus I’m writing it the next day. There is something different though, between long days spent with my family and long work days. With the Labor Day Weekend providing a little extra time before preschool begins and it is more difficult to get away, we did a little pre-anniversary trip to photograph some of the Lake Huron lighthouses. We caught a couple of them Sunday evening, but Monday began with a search for access to one that the info I could find said was on private property and the only views available were from the water. I should have trusted my info because after numerous dead-ends, it became apparent that the lighthouse wasn’t going to be found by us. Once we gave up on that one, we headed up the Lake Huron shoreline stopping at the lighthouses that we could get to by vehicle with the final one in our journey being in Mackinaw City at the base of the Mackinac Bridge.
As we worked our way up the coastline of Michigan, I wasn’t sure how far we would get before we ran out of day and needed to head home. At each lighthouse stop I would check and the next lighthouse on my list would only be about 30 miles further north, so another 30 miles didn’t seem too far to go. Eventually we reached a point where we were only 50 miles away from the Mackinac Bridge and since we had never seen it or been that far north in Michigan, I figured “what’s another 50 miles”. So, we arrived in Mackinaw City around 7 PM and after taking pictures of the lighthouse, the setting sun, and the bridge, it was time to begin the drive home. While the continued journey north throughout the day meant the drive home was continually increasing, the time spent together enjoying the beauty that surrounded us at our stops and as we drove, was worth what was now a 5+ hour drive home. Interestingly enough, if we had headed home after the lighthouse before Mackinaw City, it would have been a 6+ hour drive from there being that there was not a very direct route home from the Forty Mile Point lighthouse. So, making the extra stop didn’t even delay our return home by much.
As I think about our travels throughout the day, it reminds me of the journey that we take through life. Sometimes we spend a lot of time, effort, and resources looking for something that isn’t available to us. While there may be times when we do that in a process of discovery, more often than not it is time spent trying to obtain what our instructions, God’s Word, say isn’t meant for us. Is this not what has been happening from the beginning of time? While God had laid down clear instructions of all that was available to Adam and Eve, He also made it clear there was fruit from one tree that was not meant for them. Rather than accept that, they put themselves into a position where Satan could tempt them with a promise of being able to obtain the “forbidden fruit”. While I wasted an hour trying to find a way to a lighthouse that was clearly listed as not accessible by land, many Christians waste much more than an hour trying to justify a pursuit of something that God has clearly stated in His Word is not for them. We are very good at thinking we are the exception and somehow we will find a way to make what we want work.
Once I decided to quit wasting time and submit to the truth, the rest of the day was a good example of approaching our life’s journey one day at a time — or one lighthouse at a time. 🙂 I think that if I had fully, and accurately, mapped out the day ahead of time, I would have decided it was too much and missed out on some of the beauty God wanted to share with us. I believe one of the reasons God doesn’t reveal our entire life journey to us is that He wants us to trust Him with each moment. But I also believe He wants us to learn from each moment and use it to build for what’s next. Years ago a friend told me that whatever I’m going through now is preparation for whatever is next. If we were to see the full journey laid out before us, I think many of us would be tempted to take a few shortcuts and skip some of the parts that appear to be difficult miles of our journey. When we commit to doing what is next and then going to God for direction for what comes after that, I believe we will find our journey to be less stressful and we’ll be better prepared to enjoy each stop that God brings us to along the way.
As the day finished, I was also reminded of the times when we travel through some long, dark nights in life. As the miles added up and the hours slipped by, at least two things kept me going. One, we were together as a family and two, we were headed home. Our journey through life is a lot more enjoyable when there are frequent stops filled with beauty and fun. While I pray those time exist on our journey, most of us will have times when the road is long and dark. It is during those times of our life journey that the people God has placed around us help keep us going. But even more importantly, having our mind and eyes fixed on our destination of home helps us to press on when the way isn’t filled with the level of excitement and beauty that we would prefer.
I pray that you and I would give careful consideration to the “forbidden fruits” we attempt to justify and pursue even when we know God has said no. I pray that we would live life to the full each day, knowing that our current steps are just as important as our future steps. I pray that we would keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we journey toward home, especially when the days seem dark and long.