The wise men from the east, Pastor Steve* explained, had a journey of some 1,000 miles to reach the Christ Child. Talk about saddle sores! Doesn’t sound to me like a trip I’d enjoy much beyond the very few first miles.
But these were wise men. Though the way grew tiresome and tough these men knew they were travelling with purpose. Like any marathoner at mile 23** knows, the last bit is the toughest, but the joy awaiting at the end gives both the strength to push onward. As Nehemiah reminded his people, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10)
And as David reflects…
“Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5b)
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” (Psalm 126:5)
And as Jesus promises…
…You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. (John 16:20c-22)
Wise men know that the presence of difficulty does not mean you are on a wrong path, it is merely a part of the right path. Wise men know that the absence of joy at times along the journey does not mean the promise of joy is untrue. They need only persevere.
“….persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Heb. 10:36)
There is JOY in every JOurneY when Christ is your destination.
*Look for the entire message under ‘Media’ at the Lincoln Baptist Church website, Dec. 16 message.
** A marathon is 26.2 miles (approx 42 km) long. Fatigue hits hardest in the final few feet.