I am the traveler. I have searched high and low to find what is missing in my life. I have traveled by boat, car and plane. I have traveled by foot, bus and train.
I have climbed to the top of Mt. Everest. I have looked in wonder at the Dead Sea. I have hiked across the Sahara Desert. I have swam in the seven oceans. I have seen the beauty of the white snow in Antarctica. I have seen the lush lands of the Amazon Rainforest. I have seen the majestic Great Wall Of China.
Still, I searched. Nothing filled the emptiness inside of me. Nothing cured me. What was I missing?
It was December and I decided to travel back home and start again. Find a new plan. Search for a new land where I can find me.
That’s when the strangest things happened.
On the plane back to home a child told me about a baby born in a manger. My connecting flight was delayed and that is when a woman told me about the life of a man named Jesus.
When I landed I had to take a train to my city. On that train a man told me about the crucifixion of Jesus and how he was raised from the grave. He told me about forgiveness of our sins, His grace, and how much he loves us all.
I was in deep thought about all these conversations as I walked to my house. I connected the dots as I looked at all the lights and decorations. Christmas. Jesus had to come to earth to be born in a manger. He had to be like you and me to share in our pain and suffering yet to still give us joy, forgiveness, and love. He had to die to fulfill God’s promise.
If we believe in him then we will have eternal life in Heaven. If we believe in him then he is in us and that is what I was searching for. That is what I was missing.
After all my travels I found what I was missing and it was right with me the entire time.
Now I travel again. Back to the places I was searching before. This time I bring Jesus with me. I bring his words and give them to everyone who has never heard them before. With the help of God, I will spread the news of his love, his forgiveness, his grace to the world.
I am the traveler. It all started with a journey many years ago to a tiny town called Bethlehem. It all started with a baby born in a manger.
“Look around you. Many of you do not think you are ready yet. You wouldn’t be here if you were not. Few will take this journey with you. Many will not. Look around you. Those that are not ready need the help of those that are. There will be many that will not want to hear what you have to say. Say it anyway. You will be persecuted, jailed, beaten, laughed at. Say it anyway. This is your journey. Each of you will have a different path to take but we will all be on the same journey.”
“Do not stray from my word. I will give you a list of do’s and dont’s. However, I know all of you will fail. At some point you will turn away from this journey and go your own way. You will go down roads I wish you wouldn’t. I will not be mad at you. I will not leave you. I will wait for your return. Your journey will continue.”
“You must have the faith of a child. You must trust like a child trusts. Protect the innocence of the children. Do not follow the ways of this world. There is nothin in this world that can compare to the riches that await you.”
“You will hit walls. Smash through them. You will hit dead ends. Turn around. You will go the wrong way down a one way street. I will guide you back to where you need to be.”
“Love everyone you meet. Many will not love you back. Love them anyway. Plant seeds everywhere I send you. Some may sprout right away. Others may sprout long after you are gone. Some may never sprout at all. Plant them anyway. ”
“I will not lie to you. I will always speak the truth. I expect the same from you. You will be the light in this dark world. When you are not speaking, let your actions speak for you. Others will be watching you when you do not know they are. Lead them the right way. Do not be a hypocrite.”
“You will be hungry. You will see others hungrier than you. Feed them with what you have. Give them what you don’t have. Clothe them with the clothes you wear. Share your time. Volunteer to help the least of them. You may be tired but I will give you strength. You may think you are not making a difference but you are. ”
“Again I say you will stumble. You will make mistakes. You will make some of the same mistakes over and over. You may want to give up. Do not give up. Do not be discouraged. I will forgive you. I will love you. I will guide you back to me. I will put you on the right journey you are assigned to. Each of you have different gifts. Use those gifts. Do not be afraid. ”
“Lastly I leave you with this. My love for you has no ends. When you are lost I will search the world for you. When you are in the dark, look for my light. When you turn away from me, my voice will turn you back around. Show this world compassion, love, forgiveness. Find joy in me. Be content in all circumstances. Be thankful for who you are because you are who I made you to be. Be courageous on this journey I have set you on. The one you have chosen to take. The one I will be with you on.”
“Who wants to follow me? Now let’s go on this journey together. I love you my children. Who will follow me? ”
That’s when I stood up and shouted, “I will follow you!”
He stood in front of us. We had to number in the thousands but he did not seem nervous. He was not an imposing man but spoke with authority. I was hanging on every word he said.
“Today you have taken the first step in your journey. You will never take another journey more important than this. I must commend you being brave, for risking everything to be here today. There are many in this world that will never take this step.”
“I will tell you that this journey will not be easy, and that my friends is an understatement. You will be asked to do things you did not think you were capable of doing. You will be asked to make the impossible possible. Many times you will think your journey is over when it has just begun. Many times you will be asked to do things you don’t want to do.”
See what I mean. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. If I wasn’t sitting on the floor I would’ve been on the edge of my seat.
“Sometimes you will wonder if it is all worth it. Sometimes you will have doubts. You will doubt yourself, you will doubt my instructions. Sometimes you will forget my instructions and many of you will. You will go your own way. You will not want to listen to my voice. Keep listening anyway. ”
“Today, some of you will be asked to go by boat. You will have rough seas. You will have calm waters. Keep your guard up. Out of those calm waters a storm can rise. You will ask why but do not doubt and do not be afraid. Stay strong in my directions, stay on course, the waters will calm again. You will face many beasts out on the waters. Some will look dangerous and they are. Some will look harmless but they are the most dangerous. Some will look dangerous but they will help you. You may ask how will you know your enemies from your friends? Keep your eyes on the truth that I will give you and you will know.”
I have to be honest and say at this point my enthusiasm was starting to wain. I told myself I hope I don’t get picked to go on the boat.
He continued, “some of you will be asked to travel by plane. You will board the plane and not know where your destination will be. You will have turbulence. The engines may fail. I tell you do not fear. You will not die. Believe in my instructions and you will never die. When you land at your destination you may see horrors you have never seen before. Stay strong. I will guide you on what you need to do. You will see things that you won’t be able to forget. Things you would never see from where you are leaving. That is okay, but do not be anxious about them. Be grateful for what you have seen.”
“Some of you will travel by foot. You will have a long journey but stay strong. Keep my words in your heart. You will see many things along you way. Some will be great, others will be horrible. I will put people in strategic places along your journey to help you. They will feed you, clothe you, encourage you, and strengthen you. You will meet people along your way that will pretend to be my helpers. They are not. Listen to their words closely. They will not align with mine. Listen closely, as I have said before, my voice will guide you.”
Well as enthusiastic as I had been, I can honestly say it was gone. I know I didn’t want to go by boat, plane, or by foot at this point. Excuse me sir, are there any other options? Yet, something was still telling me to go.
“You will meet people along your way that you will wish will always be in your life. They may die, they may just simply be on a different path than you are on. Do not be dismayed. Remember the people I put in your life may only be there to help you in that time of your life. Then I will need to send them to help someone else. Most of the time it will not be because of something you did, but because of something I need them to do. However, there may be times they leave you because they don’t agree with you any longer. Maybe it’s because they are listening to another voice that is not mine. Know when to walk away and when to hold on. Be thankful no matter what happens that they were a part of your life. They helped shape you into who I need you to be. ”
“My word will be everywhere you go. Anytime you are discouraged, beat down, lonely, frustrated, feeling unloved, disappointed and feel like you can’t go on, they will be there to help you.”
At this point he had his helpers pass out his instruction manual. He said not only do we have this hard copy form but he said we all can find it on our phones, tablets, computers, etc. It can be found anywhere, we just have to look for it.
“Okay, who still wants to start this journey today.”
My hand immediately went up. Wait a minute, I pulled it back down. He looked at me and smiled, I couldn’t help but put it back up again. I looked around and was amazed at how many people did not put their hands up. What were they thinking? They were thinking the same thing I was a minute ago. I guess I was just braver, better than they were.
That was when he looked directly at me. This time he wasn’t smiling.
“Pride and judgement are of this world. You are new on this journey and you will learn.”