Growing up in the Air Force, I endured a lot of long car rides. We drove to a new home every few months, eventually stretching that to every three years. We drove to visit family and old friends, hours and hours rolling past flat lands or hills or mountains. We always looked forward to our destination. Maybe the beach. Maybe seeing Grandma. Maybe visiting my best friend from our last base.
During the first hour, inevitably, one of us kids would whine, “Are we almost there?”
“No, we have a long ways to go.”
Apparently “a long ways” was relative in meaning. Fifteen minutes later: “Are we almost there yet?”
Either Mom or Dad would explain when we could expect to arrive. A sample response: “It will be almost dinner time when we get there. And right now, it’s not even time for lunch.”
That helped put things in perspective. If anyone asked the almost there question before our stomachs rumbled in expectation of dinner, The Parents showed distinct displeasure.
Our lives on earth are a long journey as well, heaven the anticipated destination. Unfortunately, many of us get so caught up in the sights and area attractions on the way, we almost forget the purpose of the trip. Do we ever ask God, “Are we almost there?”
I write for hours some days. I love it! But if I’m not using the written word to glorify my Father in some fashion, I’m wasting my time. I loved teaching. Seventy-hour work weeks were the norm, not the exception. But if I never pointed my students to Christ, I exhausted myself for nothing. Every mile on my journey has a God-ordained purpose. But I’m not sure if I’ve ever literally asked, “Are we almost there, Lord?”
The destination of heaven is the goal, but it’s also scary. We have nothing to compare it to. God assures us we’ll like it. After all, He’ll be there. But arriving in heaven means we must leave the familiar road of earth. Maybe we should just keep driving…
Last Sunday, in a tiny town in Texas, approximately half the worshipers in a small Baptist church reached their destination. Those left behind are suffering a grief most of us will never know. God has told them, “Keep traveling. Your journey isn’t over yet.”
I watched several of those church members in interviews. Through their tears, they honored the ones who lost their lives to the bullets of a madman. And through their tears, they smiled. Their loved ones had the privilege of going to heaven together. Mothers, daughters, fathers, sons are home now, rejoicing. Survivors of the attack are so strong in their faith that they can rejoice over those lost to them. Because they’re only lost for now. Someday, they’ll be reunited.
I imagine as they continue their own journey toward heaven, the question will come up more often. “Are we almost there, Lord?”