Is Life about the journey or about the destination?
Then I saw a new heaven, and a new earth. For the old ones were gone. I also noticed there was no sea. Then I, John, saw The Holy City of New Jerusalem.
It was coming down from the heaven, from God.
It was as magnificent as a bride, presenting herself in all her regalia for her husband.
Then a loud voice called out from heaven, “Look! God now lives directly in the midst of mankind.
He will dwell among them! They will be His people. God, His very self, will be with them and be their God.
He will personally wipe away every tear from everyone’s eyes!
Then, these things will be gone forever; death, sorrow, mourning and all painThis is because all the old things are done and gone.”
Then God, sitting on His throne said, “Look! I make all things new!”
Then He said to me, “Write that down! For these words are true and absolutely assured.”
Then He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega! I am the Beginning and the End!
To all who thirst, I will freely give water from the fountain of life!
They who overcome will inherit all things. I will be their God, and they will be my children!
However, cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, those who call on and use powers not from Me, idolaters, liars… they go to the lake of fire, and burning stone.
Their end is that – the second death.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” That is the actual quote, not the often recited “Life is about the journey, not its destination.” The minor changes make a subtle but profound difference. This is because the first one is true, and the second one is false.
“Life is a journey, but it is all about the destination.” – Me
Once upon a time there was a knock on a man’s door. He opened it to be greeted by bright sun, confetti, cheers, and a parade. As he walked down the streets people carefully helped him along while he walked. They offered him drinks and food every step of the way.
Once upon another time, there was a knock on another man’s door. He opened it to be met by a rude messenger who thrust out a letter and demanded a signature. It was dusk, and a cold rain fell. The man took his letter and left, trudging through rain, stones, mud, sticks and swamps every step of the way.
The first man walked with his head down. His face was a mask of despair. Gloom, depression and lethargy clung to him like an opaque fog.
The second man ran for as often as he had energy. His eyes gleamed; his mouth was stuck in a perpetual smile. He bounded with glee, hope and expectation.
The first man was going to be executed. All the confetti and cheers were from people glad to be getting rid of him. All the careful assistance being lent was to be sure nothing went wrong so he could safely arrive at his execution. The food and drink was to assure he was healthy, so he could suffer his death.
The second man had just acquired a long awaited legal seal validating that he had inherited a castle, all the wealth within, and could finally enter it himself as his own home.
You see? It’s not about the journey. It’s all about where the journey comes to an end. It’s all about where you put the word “about”. “Life is ABOUT the journey to a destination.” or “Life is a journey that is ABOUT its destination.”
As a matter of fact, Emerson’s actual quote is extremely accurate. In my devotional “Sleight of Hand Happiness”, I state the same idea he did. Life is not the end state. Life is not the goal. He stated the same idea by minimizing life, by clearly indicating that life is “just”…a journey, specifically not…a destination. Life, is only a means to an end. What exactly that end is…is all that matters.
For those who have the Salvation of Christ, that end is inexpressible perfect wonders.
No one has perceived, or could even imagine,
what God has prepared for who loves Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9
For those who do not have the Salvation of Christ, and do not love God, that end is the second death of Revelation 21:8. That brings me to my third and last analogy.
Once upon a third time there was a third man who was invited to a large bonfire party out in the woods. He was very happy to be included, and he was chipper as he trotted along with the group that had invited him along. He never considered much of anything amidst the laughter and brightly crackling torches. There was no reason to think at all, as he followed everyone who was following everyone.
When he finally arrived he was murdered with an ax, screaming in terror until he died.
I hope that was sufficiently jarring.
You see, the invite that man received was a lie. It was deception all along from the start. There was no warm fire. It was a setup. All that ever awaited that man was death. It’s important to understand that the destination is so important, that people can easily be fooled into taking the wrong path to get to the wrong place…if they are deceived regarding the truth to the destination itself. Or if they are convinced the destination is of no importance. Anyone will go anywhere if they don’t care where it goes.
I’m going to come back to that. So don’t forget the tragic end to my aforementioned allegorical man. He will be a part of my conclusion to the last idea I will present in this devotional.
For now consider in this, the world that we live in, there is a two pronged lie that the great deceiver has set into the minds of people from the two sides of things. We, who believe in heaven, are constantly pressed down with a weary gazing at a road that looks to stretch out to infinity before us. Sure, its straight (Matthew 7:13-14), but nothing even close to being level. It is a straight path that has peaks so high the air is so thin we cannot breathe. It’s a straight path that has valleys so deep they’re only fit to be the home not even for death, but for its shadow falling even lower below wherever death is actually standing. (Psalm 23:4)
It’s also narrow. It’s so narrow we can’t dodge to one side or the other to avoid anything that rushes at us from in front, or most often, from behind. It’s so narrow in some places it’s like traveling on that of a razors edge, and it cuts deep into our feet as we walk upon it.
The deception being that we are always taunted with the road that we can see with our eyes, that our weary feet touch beneath us…and so forget where it leads. We are tempted to call our journey overwhelming, and then crumble beneath the weight of it, abandoning the hope of our destination.
Now, the other side is this. Remember the tragic end of my third example? He represents most of the world. They are all on the wide easy path…that leads to a suffering that is infinitely more horrible than the journey of every Christian that will ever live. It’s so wide! It’s nearly impossible to lose it. There are so many people on it! It’s nearly impossible to feel alone. They too are fed the lie of focusing on the road and not its end, the sweet deception of an easy and comfortable journey, one that is littered with so many pleasures and sights to see, that thinking of where its destination is, seems a frivolous question to even bother asking. – Then they get murdered with an ax.
My conclusion is simple, and deliberately abrupt. Let it hang in your mind like the suffusing vibrations to the single boom of a great bell, powerfully struck with a velvet wrapped sledgehammer.
We must always remember and cling to the same truth that we must always tell everyone in all cases…
…it’s about the journeys end.
Copyright Mark Vincent Vicari
I have recorded audio versions of this, and my other devotionals, in formats that both do, and do not have background music. They can be listened to at…
I am an author, theologian and philosopher
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Please note – If Bible verses are not specifically noted as being taken directly from the King James Version, I paraphrase all Bible verses that I use. The primary reason for this is in putting a verse into my own words I clearly expose how I read and understood the verse myself. Please always take the time to compare my understanding of a verse with the verse itself from your preferred translation of the Bible.
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