John M. Fowler

editor-at-large, Adventist Review

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​The Journey Must Go On!

editor-at-large, Adventist Review

The journey must go on. The pilgrims may be weary, hurting, and disappointed, but they are not unsure of their mission, their direction, their destination. One by one, family by family, church by church, together as a body of hope, hand in hand, heart with heart, the march must go on. Our Commander is at the front, at the back, and all around, leading us to that sure and certain destination.

The journey must go on.

The journey finds its type in Israel’s move from Egypt to Canaan. It provides us a portrait of suffering and joy, trials and patience, dreams and fulfillment, growth and challenge, disappointment and hope.

The journey must go on.

Egypt gives us a starting example. Years of slavery had numbed the sense of spirituality. Bricks without straw, labor without rest, generation merging with generation without a sense of the stars above or the radiance within. A whole community of God’s chosen race stays in the stance of not knowing the beauty and the power of God’s grace. But “God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them” (Ex. 2:25). With God looking after the journey, and with His unfailing acknowledgment that “you are my people and I am your God,” the constancy of the journey and the sure arrival at the gates of the Promised Land were well assured.

The journey must go on.

The journey is not without hurdles—the might of Pharaoh, the red sea ahead, the golden calf, the murmuring against leaders from Miriams and Aarons, onions and garlics, the rebellion of Korah, betrayal’s explosion at Kadesh Barnea, and the preference of death in Egypt to life in Canaan. Are they not symbols of challenges every generation faces on its journey to the Promised Land?

The journey must go on.

No one, not even the Almighty, has promised that the journey will be easy and unhindered. If the pilgrims’ journey was easygoing and hurdle-free, then the Great Controversy would have no meaning, the Christian journey would have no relevance, and the promise of eternity’s new dawn would only be a pie in the sky bye and bye.

But God’s Word shows that the journey must go on.

In the face of hindrances and roadblocks, doubts and criticisms, there stand the mighty symbols of God’s unfailing watch over pilgrims bound for the Promised Land: the Passover deliverance, the highway through the sea, God’s encrypting by His own fingers the norm and responsibility of human life in the midst of meaninglessness and hopelessness, the outpouring of the manna, and the way to the Most Holy Place assure that the Promised Land is sure and certain.

The journey must go on.

Leaders come and leaders go. They are human: they may strike the rock instead of speaking to it. They may get only a mountaintop view of the Promised Land, but receive the unexpected experience of the promised destiny in a way only God can design. “Fear” and “fear not” are the divine commands to the leaders as well to all the pilgrims. Fear God who created the heavens and the earth. Fear Him who emptied all heaven to open a highway for the pilgrims to get back to where they belong. Fear Him who feared not the cross that paved the sure and certain way to our ultimate destination. But at the same, fear not forces that sow doubt on the steady and united march toward the kingdom; fear not the fleeting clouds that may for the moment cast a shadow, for behind the clouds is the brightness of the unfailing sun.

“In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what God has wrought, I am filled with astonishment and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.

We are now a strong people, if we will put our trust in the Lord; for we are handling the mighty truths of the word of God. We have everything to be thankful for.” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers, p. 31.)

The journey must go on. Indeed, it’s almost over: We are nearing home. We are nearing home. Heaven’s splendor gleams, heaven’s glory streams already through its gates ajar: We are nearing home!