What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. —Hebrews 11:1 (TLB)
On State Route 119 between Big Run and DuBois stands an interesting and somewhat amusing highway sign, giving the direction and mileage to some area towns: Panic, Desire, and Paradise. Yes, those are real names of real towns here in western Pennsylvania.
On our journey from the womb to the tomb, much like the ancient Israelites’ 40-year trek through the wilderness, we travel through various states of panic and desire (and so much more in between) to get to our Promised Land. We learn the rules of survival along the way—one of which, and the most important, is to carry a survival kit.
Included in this survival kit are four essential items.
First is a vision of your destination—Paradise, or Heaven, God’s home. In this goal-setting society in which we live, we’re advised to post a picture of what it is we want to achieve someplace where we’ll see it everyday. When my husband and I were still building our house—a 30-year-project—I taped picture of a log home inside a kitchen cupboard door. Keeping what we want in sight daily reaffirms the belief that we will eventually get there and helps us to trudge through the rough spots. Read Revelation 21 and 22 often to keep the vision of your destination fresh.
Another vital item your survival kit should carry is faith, which will fuel your faltering steps. As Corrie Ten Boom once said, “Faith is like radar that sees through the fog.” As defined by God’s Word, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
The third item is a map to guide you along the way. You already know the route: Jesus Road, for He said, “I am the way. . . . No one comes to the Father (and His home) except through Me” (John 14:6). But we can get confused when darkness descends, as it always will. God’s Word, as phrased in The Message, will “throw a beam of light” on the darkened path (Psalm 119:105).
The last item is identification. Even when I’m hiking, I carry my driver’s license in a pocket. Identification is proof that we are who we say we are. When you travel to a foreign country, you need proof of citizenship. On our journey to Paradise, we carry the citizenship papers Jesus provided—proof that we are citizens of Heaven (Philippians 3:20). We don’t belong to the world we’re traveling through. Like the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11, we’re “aliens and strangers on earth” (Hebrews 11:13).
As you travel from Panic to Paradise, clutching your survival kit, remember you don’t walk alone, for the King of your destination is travelling with you. (See Exodus 33:14; Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20 ).
As I trek through the wilderness of this world, Lord, remind me to use my survival kit. Amen.
Extra tea: Read and meditate on Hebrews 11