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Ed Jordan: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Posted: 5/4/18 at 11:15am. Column by Ed Jordan.

Summer is a time when many people travel, and the major vehicles for such travel are planes, cars, trains, or boats. Some like to go by car because of the freedom and spontaneity they provide. Some prefer planes to get them to their destinations quickly, while others prefer trains with their slower pace and stunning landscapes. Boats and ship cruises are also popular. These vehicles allow us to get from Point A to Points B, C, or Z. For some the arrival is what is important; for others it is the journey.

Due to our familiarity with travel experiences, our language is replete with travel metaphors. In tribute to the tragic Titanic journey, many failures are classified as titanic failures. People who longed for peace among humanity were invited to get on the Peace Train.

Leaving on a jet plane became metaphorical for a sad ending and a new uncertain future.  In Christian music there is the train bound for glory, i.e. heaven. This is also the train Curtis Mayfield sang of in People Get Ready, there’s a train a coming, which we board and ride by faith.

Most of us have at least one memory of taking a flight somewhere, sitting by the window, and looking down at the world far below. What I liked about flying was that it helped me put my troubles in perspective. The stress of life seems overwhelming at times, but looking at life from above those difficulties seem to make them smaller, and the world of opportunity seems larger.

My favorite travel memories are those of riding the trains of Europe on a 15-day Eurail pass. We spent two weeks riding the trains wherever we wanted, getting off wherever we wanted to explore, even using overnight trains to crisscross the countryside. We used the Cook’s schedule book and chose our destination and where we wanted to wake up the next day.

That’s a little like life, isn’t it? We have been given life, and guidebooks or manuals (such as the Bible) to assist us in our journey. Using those tools we make choices, and each decision leads us somewhere. The pass for our lifetime journey will also expire someday; so as the song says, we need to get ready. To get on that train bound for glory we need to have established an ongoing relationship with Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life (cf. John 14:6). Notice it says he is the way. He isthe path, the transportation, and the destination.

This “journey” metaphor is relevant in many areas of all our lives. Each decision in life propels us on certain roads, and each road has its own byways. On the journey we will meet many other travelers. Each of us will have unique personal experiences, sometimes traveling our road on our own, and sometimes sharing the path with others. Some of us have specific goals and destinations in mind.

Some people prefer to just go where the road takes them. All of us are impacted by what roads we chose and what experiences came about as a result of being on that portion of the journey.

Some choose to travel the road of life without a guide, while many choose Jesus to be their shepherd, guide, and traveling companion. I have chosen Jesus to be my guide on the journey in life.

Why? As my shepherd he provides all of the benefits mentioned in Psalm 23. He has already been anywhere I will go, defeated any challenge I will face, knows my strengths and weaknesses, and he is the only one who has defeated death and has come out alive on the other side of death. He is kind, fun,generous, wise, brilliant, and wants the best for me.

He is the source of eternal life, and when hecomes to live within me, so does eternal life (cf. 1 John 5:11-12). In John 10:10 we see that Jesus came to give us an abundant quality of life. We will all face death, but Jesus has come out on the other side of the valley of death, and in John 11:25–26 (ESV) he promises to those who put their faith in him: “… I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and  everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Life is a journey. May you choose a great guide to assist you on your journeys, and may you enjoy many wonderful experiences. I wish you good journeys!

ed-jordan2Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA. You may also read his past columns.

He can be reached at szent.edward@gmail.com.