Journeys and destinations
“… but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b)
Most people from time to time find themselves travelling from one place to another. For many of us travelling by train is not a familiar experience. Yet many of those having had the opportunity to do so, will tell you that the journey itself could be very relaxing and satisfying while enjoying the scenery outside or simply spending some valuable time with family or friends. Others may tell you that a long train journey can become quite boring and tiring and that they would value much more those events waiting at the place of arrival, their destination.
A while ago a good friend told me of his first train trip as a student from Stellenbosch to Cape Town. He enthusiastically explained how he left the station with the full belief that he was on his way to Cape Town station. After all, he could see Table Mountain in a distance. Soon they arrived in Cape Town. However, going back that afternoon was a different story. Running around between twenty different platforms not knowing which train to take, an old man advised him to go back into the building and to consult the destination board. He did so, took the 16h30 train from platform 12 and left the station. But soon he started doubting whether he did in fact take the right train. All of a sudden he saw unfamiliar places outside that he could not remember noticing on his way into Cape Town. Later, very worried and troubled he asked the conductor in which direction the train was going. On the conductor’s question what the destination board in Cape Town indicated, my friend replied: “It said that the 16h30 train from platform 12 goes to Stellenbosch, sir”. The conductor concluded: “This train left from platform 12 at 16h30. Now relax and stop worrying”. Shortly after that they arrived at Stellenbosch station.
His simple little story made me think of the most important journey of all. A journey we find ourselves on right now - the journey of life. As with other journeys we all try to make the best of it, to enjoy life with everything it offers. But how often do we think of the destination? Where are we heading? Reality is that there are only two options: eternal life with Jesus Christ or eternal separation from Him in hell. Only when I was confronted 12 years ago with the most important question anyone can ever ask you I realised that the questions and uncertainties my friend experienced on his trip back to Stellenbosch were exactly the same ones that I struggled with on my journey through life. While having to answer the question whether I was 100% sure that I would go to heaven should I die today, I had to admit with a shock that I was hopelessly uncertain and that I was (like so many others) merely hoping for the best! But my friend had good news too, for me and for you.
Just like the clear confirmation and assurance given on the destination board in Cape Town, the Bible tells us what our destination is once we have chosen to accept God’s free gift of eternal life. I have learnt that you can really be sure, as certainly as you are now reading this message. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life” (John 6:47). I have chosen, and since that day I am enjoying a journey of certainty, a life of victory over sin and guilt and a real relationship of trust in Him. To have this certainty outweighs any other feeling of peace and satisfaction. While my life is certainly not free of sin, I’ve also learnt that my choice had to be a radical one. The Bible states clearly that no one has eternal life just because he says that he has trusted Christ (James 2:14). God knows our hearts. He hates sin and is only interested in a real, genuine and committed choice.
May I ask you this questions too? Are you sure? Have you made the vital choice and committed your life to Jesus? If not, doesn’t it make sense to make sure of your eternal destination right now? Our Father is patiently waiting for you at this very moment – “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20).
Don’t postpone. You may not have another opportunity.
(By Ludi. Beukman)