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Journey of a Lifetime
Have you ever had an unfulfilled ambition to do something extraordinary?
Perhaps you want to hang-glide off a volcano, cycle across Africa or climb Everest?
How do you think you would feel when you were there actually doing it? Imagine that you were, at this very moment, walking in the Solu Khumbu – in the foothills of Mount Everest
– with that magnificent mountain scenery as your backdrop, just as on this month’s front cover.
You look up and see yaks heavily-laden with your gear, and that of the party you are travelling with, crossing over a mountain stream. Behind them are the Sherpas who are guiding and supporting you. You are struggling against altitude sickness, adjusting to the new experience and trying to take it all in. And all the time the mountain which has been your aim in life is drawing nearer and nearer.
If you pause to think about it for a moment, this journey has only been made possible due to a whole range of different things. Nobody could set out without a lot of forethought. You had to work some things out – which travel company to choose, how you were going to pay for it, whether you were fit enough, and such- like. The company arranging the trip had
to sort out things with airlines, hotels, lodges, suppliers and with Sherpas. The Sherpas, in turn, had to make their own arrangements and have had to acquire the skills that would be needed when the going got tough.
Only a fool would venture into dangerous conditions without a trusty guide or guides and they would need to be reliable or the
climber’s life would be put at risk. You would want to go with someone who had been there before and who knew the way; preferably with someone who had climbed that path several times before and in a vari- ety of different weather conditions.
It would be vital to know when it was safe to proceed and when you just had to turn back. And if you were unable, for whatever reason, to continue you
would want to be sure there was adequate help and support to get you out of there safely. Nobody would want their journey of a lifetime to end in death.
Yet that is what happens to many climbers and not only to the unprepared. High mountains are dangerous places and nobody can be sure about changing weather conditions, or treacherous conditions underfoot. Accidents happen even to the strongest and seemingly best-pre- pared people. It’s part of the challenge, of course, to push yourself to the limits of human endurance and to learn something more about yourself in the process.
121st Year 3
That’s true of life as well and the way we ought to live it. We should all want to get somewhere, make progress in the right direction, and learn something important about ourselves on the journey.
But it doesn’t happen of itself, not unless we make it happen. There are people who seem to be satisfied with mere existence and there are others who really seem to have got somewhere in life. They “made something of themselves” we sometimes say. Perhaps that means they advanced materially or academically, or just that they developed well in one way or another.
The journey of life is a challenge given us by God. He made us by giving us life and, at the end, He takes that life- force away. We are all given the chance to find out about Him and the Lord Jesus Christ, for the Lord himself said that life eternal depended upon
our knowledge of them both and our understanding of God’s gracious purpose (John 17:2).
In a way the higher you climb in life along the path of understanding, the closer you get to understanding the way of God and seeing how you can be a part of it. It was the prophet Isaiah who once said that God’s ways are high above us and, by implication, he urged us to drink of mountain streams if we are to find true refreshment:
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat … Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you – the sure mercies of
David … For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven … so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth” (Isaiah 55:1-11).
Helps along the Way
There is someone who has gone before us along this upward path and he is both
tried and tested. The Lord Jesus Christ has climbed the steep and rugged way that leads to God’s kingdom and sits now in heaven helping and guiding fellow travellers. You will find no surer guide in life whatever the conditions might be or however arduous the jour- ney might sometimes seem. He is a burden bear- er and a guide of supreme quality; he can take you safely to your journey’s end.
There are many travel aids too that will keep you safe and free from danger. Life’s journey is an everyday affair – it is “the trip of a lifetime!” Every day we need guidance and counsel to point us in the right direction. This issue contains a “Bible Companion” set of reading tables which will help you read through the Bible every day. Or you can send for a Bible Reading Plan- ner, which is advertised on the back cover, if you prefer something which will introduce you to a journey of discovery in a slightly gentler fashion. In the company of other like-minded people you too can then embark on the “way of holiness” that leads to everlasting life in God’s perfect world.
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