Are We There Yet?
Are We There Yet?
Written by Leslie Crawford
JTH Online Group Participant, Overcomer, Blogger, Musician and Friend
This cry is surely a familiar one to anyone who has undertaken a long journey with small children.
I remember my brother once asking this around fifteen minutes into a seven-hour journey! And of course, the question was repeated several more times at various intervals before we finally reached our destination!
I can sympathise- long journeys are no fun when you just want to arrive, especially if there are setbacks along the way. It's particularly hard for small children who have no real concept of how long the journey is meant to take.
Our spiritual journeys, such as the journey of healing from sexual abuse, can be similar. Sometimes God's work seems so slow and the healing process seems to take so long that I have wished I could just arrive. At times I have felt like the restless child in the back of the car crying out in desperation: "Are we there yet?"
Sometimes it has seemed that I am making no progress at all, but that I am going round in circles, or even moving backwards. There have been many days when I have felt stuck- pushing to move forward, but getting nowhere fast.
I've wondered why it has to take so long. I've wondered how to speed it up. I've wondered if there was something I was doing wrong that was preventing the healing from happening more quickly.
I'm discovering though that, while sometimes the reason the journey takes so long is because of our unwillingness or disobedience, often it's not that at all, but rather that God deliberately chooses not to take us the quickest way.
We see this with the Israelites' journey in the Old Testament:
"When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, "If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea." (Exodus 13:17-18 NLT)
The Israelites were on a journey from slavery to freedom and they were following God's leading here- literally. A pillar of cloud in the sky by day and a pillar of fire by night led them along the path God wanted them to travel, but rather than leading them along the quickest route as we might expect, God chose to lead them "in a roundabout way."
Why? Because God knew what his people were ready for. The shortest route to the Promised Land went through Philistine territory and God knew how easily a battle with the Philistines could discourage them. He didn't want them to lose heart and give up. He wanted to be sure they would make it to their destination.
By leading them in the direction of the Red Sea, he was also paving the way for a great miracle. Maybe he knew that the Israelites needed to see the waters part before them to truly understand the magnitude of his power, so that they could put their trust in him and find the courage to persevere in the journey.
The important thing to God was not how quickly the Israelites got there, but how they were learning to trust him along the way.
I think the same is true for us, and there's a lot that we can learn from the Israelites' journey about how we should be journeying with God.
Like the Israelites, we don't always know the exact route we are travelling or how long it will take us to get there. That can be hard for people like me who want to be in control, but there is also a peace in letting go, in knowing that the journey doesn't depend on our wisdom and planning. God knows where he is going, and he will lead the way. We simply need to follow, one step at a time.
God leads us by the route he does for a reason. As I said, there have been times when I have been frustrated, wondering why the journey has to take so long, but gradually I've realised that, just as he knew the Israelites, God knows me, and he knows what is best. There is a purpose, even in those times when we feel we are wandering through the wilderness. I need to trust him and be willing to go at his pace.
I've also learned that our perceptions can be deceptive at times. Sometimes we feel our progress is slow, but over time all those little baby steps can add up to a considerable distance. The effort it takes is worth it for those beautiful moments when we turn around and look back to realise that we've actually come pretty far.
Are we there yet?
No, we're not, and truthfully, we live in a broken world and we probably won't be completely there this side of eternity, but it is definitely possible to reach a place where we can thrive, and even begin to enjoy the journey.
God is leading us step by step, walking with us all the way, away from the slavery of the past into new life and freedom- and if we stick with him, he'll make sure we get there in the end.
Lesley lives in Scotland and works for a Christian charity, organizing camps and events for young people. In her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, reading, and walking in beautiful places, enjoying God's creation. Leslie has been blogging since 2015 at Life In The Spacious Place. The title of the blog comes from Psalm 18:19, and the focus is finding truth, hope, and freedom in Christ no matter the circumstances we face.