Back when my daughter was little, 3 or 4 years old, we would take road trips to visit my parents in Omaha, Nebraska. At the time we lived in the Western suburbs of Chicago and that made for a 460 mile road trip. Normally the trip would take about eight to nine hours, depending how often we stopped. We would pack the usual, essential items to keep a small child and two adults entertained through a rather boring drive. Now before anyone complains, Western Illinois and Iowa are beautiful, but when much of what you see is herds of unprocessed hamburger and rows and rows of unrefined breakfast cereal and ethanol, it gets a little boring.
Now my daughter, at that age, had a shorter attention span than a goldfish. We would continually be going back and forth from coloring books to playing games to seeing how long everyone could stay perfectly quiet.
There was one thing that kept her going. When she would ask "Are we there yet?", it was not because she was tired of sitting, but she was looking forward. She wanted to see Grandma and Grandpa . . . and Kodi, my mother's Siberian Husky.
Her excitement was almost contagious. You could see her joy grow at each turn.
You would think the return trip would be full of tears for a young child, but not for her. Through miles of rolling Iowa hills, she had something to look forward to once again. It was Tori, our little white toy poodle. He was her buddy.
It took me a few trips like that to realize that she was reminding me of a principle that God so wants us learn and one that I struggle with on a daily basis.. God has told us not to be anxious for today, but to look forward to the joy we have waiting for us in Heaven. When the Israelites were led out of Egypt, God went before them as a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of clouds by day. Those who were faithful, kept their eyes looking head to where God was leading them, not to each step their foot made. Though they did not know where God was leading them, they did know what God had promised.
God never promised us an easy life, an easy walk, just look at the lives of Moses or Paul. But in a letter to the church in Phillipi, Paul writes "Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead. I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me Heavenward in Christ Jesus."
At a young age, my daughter may not have realized it, but she had something that many adults have a difficult time grasping. She was not concentrating on the Discomforts of the now, but she was looking forward.
For her, she saw the Reward at the end of the journey.