Life: the Journey or the Destination

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” -Jesus

Is life about the journey or the destination? Diana Nyad, the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, opens her documentary, The Other Shore, with these words. She came out of a thirty year retirement to attempt to swim the 103 miles from Cuba to Florida. She had already attempted it once, and at age 60, she tried again. Diana failed 4 times before she finally made it on her fifth attempt to her destination. She answers her question with the point that without the other shore, her destination, there would be no journey.

So, is life about the journey or the destination? I like Diana’s point that without the destination, there would be no journey. In all of my races, no one has ever said that the destination was not important. There would be no point in running the race, if the finish line was not enticing. I have heard many people, myself included, talk about the importance of the journey and how meaningful their training was and what they learned about themselves through it. However, not once, has anyone ever said that the training was so great, that they think they will just keep on training and forget the race. Paul echoes this sentiment in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it!”

Run the race in such a way that we might obtain the prize. As a Christ-follower, I know my prize, my destination. Through my belief in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, I will obtain the glory of Heaven. God has prepared a place for me, and I live this life with this assurance. Because of the certainty of my destination, I am free to live this journey of life and soak up every ounce of joy it has for me.

In my journey, I am free to love without abandon because I know that there is One who loves me and will never forsake me. I am free to take measured risks because I know that the safest place of all is in the will of God. I am free to give generously and live unselfishly because I know that all good things come from Him anyway, and that riches are only temporary.  I can learn hard lessons honestly, making mistakes and learning from them because I know that there is forgiveness and grace in the hands of Jesus. I am free to feel true anguish because I know that one day there will be no more tears and pain and I am comforted by this hope. I can know true joy because this comes from the Spirit and I find contentment in it.  I am free of fear, worry, and fret because I know my ultimate destination, as well as those that I love. Because my destination is secure, I can appreciate this journey, thrive in this journey, and grow in this journey.

Yet, it is because of all of these lessons, the battle scars of life, those war stories shared and because of the blessings of life, the joys, the people that you’ve loved, that you arrive at the destination in complete celebration and victory. The finish line is my favorite place of any race. It is here that you look back on all that you have gone through, all that you have achieved, utterly exhausted, having spent every ounce of energy, and you cry out in victory that you have done it! You have overcome! Your loved ones congratulate you, and you know that you have given your best. This is how I want to arrive at my destination. Utterly spent, knowing that I gave everything I had to the journey, overjoyed at those around me, and sharing those war stories with great pride. I want to arrive boasting in the One that has gotten me there, the One that carried me through dark days, the One that gave lavishly good gifts to me.  That is greatness of the journey. It sweetens the arrival of the destination. So, is life about the journey or the destination? I suppose in the words of Paul, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

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