Your Life-Journey and Navigating Your Course in 2011!

posted Aug 2, 2013, 7:35 AM by Willie T. Butler   [ updated Aug 2, 2013, 8:13 AM ]
(Originally Published | January 7, 2011)

In the 2010 Hollywood movie, The Book of Eli, Oscar Award winning actor Denzel Washington portrays a man on a thirty-three year mission. Filmed as if surviving the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, the story is about one-man’s quest to get to the West Coast with a special book that happens to be the Holy Bible. The story goes on to show how the book was forcibly taken from him while travelling across country, and—as it turns out—just happens to be the last printed copy which is in Braille. It really made for a great ending to the movie.

After viewing it a second time, I found myself pondering Eli’s journey. Again, in the movie he took thirty-three years to complete a trek from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States. According to timeanddate.com which I referred to in calculating the distance between New York City, NY and San Francisco, CA—and assuming this was Eli’s route—he would have to travel 4148 kilometers or 2577 miles. Assuming he walked only 10 miles a-day, such a journey would take 257.7 days or less than one calendar year (even factoring in zero “or no-walk” days). So, what was the movie really trying to teach us using thirty-three years to describe Eli’s journey?

Knowing and Doing are Not Important Criteria in Kingdom Service

According to the movie, Eli knew God called him to this mission but he had no idea why. All he knew for certain was that he needed to get to the West Coast with the book. So, he set his course and endured the journey, and I would guess that at times he must have wondered whether he would ever get there, or why was it taking so long to fulfill his mission. These are questions I constantly find myself struggling with in real life. Each time I do, however, God always reminds me of several famous Bible characters and how long they took in order to run their course and fulfill their destiny.

If you haven’t seen the movie than I apologize for giving away the ending, but suffice to say that it makes no sense that such a trek—even with daily obstacles and conditions to overcome—should it have ever taken thirty-three years to complete. On the other hand, when I examined this issue as a Kingdom assignment, suddenly it made sense. The movie ends with Eli orally dictating every Old and New Testament book of The Bible—chapter and verse—to an archivist who in turn reprints the entire Bible so that every post-holocaust survivor anywhere in the world could once again experience it firsthand.

A Divine Slight of Hand: Life’s Lessons are in the Journey

You see, up to that point only the copy that Eli was carrying had survived mans’ global destruction, or so we were led to believe. There were, after all, still evil men attempting to keep the book from the world and distort its persuasive power. But to counter their treachery, God used those thirty-three years to transform Eli into a living, walking version of His Holy Word, which meant that so long as Eli lived, so did God’s Word. So, while the actual journey would have only taken 258 days to complete, to read, memorize and digest the entire text—from Genesis to Revelation—is what required thirty-plus years of Eli’s life.

So, if you ever find yourself questioning whether you are on the right path towards fulfilling your God-assignment, remember that many have been asked to journey long and difficult distances in order to serve God, often without any clear sense of their quest. For Noah, he spent 100 years building an Ark and preaching to a wayward people before a life-ending flood came. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery then emerged some twenty-years later as the second-most-powerful leader in Egypt. And, while it is estimated that the people of Israel were literally only a few days-journey from the Promise Land, God required that they remain nomads and dwell in the wilderness for forty more years.

Learn to Endure Adversity and Embrace Change for Kingdom Purpose

Why such long time-frames? Obviously God has His purpose in their design, and in each case—it seems—He sets out to achieve far more than simply allowing man to endure long periods of suffering. (Acts 14:22) Instead, think of it this way. God gave those who witnessed Noah’s faithfulness an additional hundred-plus years to change their ways before destroying them with a flood. He placed Joseph in a foreign and involuntary training program that prepared him to become a hero and ruler in both Egypt and Israel. And after liberating Israel from 400-years of captivity, God purged the people of the rebellious and stiff-necked old-guard: those who still preferred bondage under Egyptian rule to living in God’s Promise Land.

In fact, when I think of this historical event I am reminded of the long and circuitous route that Moses took before emerging as the future leader of Israel. Not only did God allow Moses to experience his first forty-years growing up as a future Pharaoh, that is, being raised as if Egyptian nobility while actually born a Hebrew, but then he places him in the desert for another forty years. God used this time to dwell with him and purge Egypt’s influence out of him. Only after this long separation and many other life-changing events was Moses deemed ready to assume his new role as liberator of God’s people- Israel; adjudicator of God’s law, the Nation of Israel’s spiritual intermediary with God, and the entrusted author of the first five books of the Bible—a.k.a the Torah.

Maintaining Your Life’s Course Requires Perseverance and Endurance

Now, how about you? Do you ever struggle at times trying to know and do what God has asked of you? And have you ever been engaged in what seems like a never-ending or impossible-to-achieve journey? I certainly have, and at times I simply wanted to give up because the process seemed much too difficult to complete. Even getting to where I am with blogging today has taken me more than a decade into my journey. Is that because of God’s time-frame or the consequence of my disobedience to yield to His will? Well, if you have experienced any of these conditions, please know you are not alone.

Since I know that God does nothing randomly but always with intention, I have decided to look at the call of God and the journey it may take to achieve it from another perspective.

Basically, it is this. God chooses the assignment and life presents us with the journey. This process defines the course of life that is set before you. Our role, therefore, is to pursue the unique and highly-customized course designed specifically for each of us until we fulfill our destiny. It is that simple! Only then will any of us be able to utter those famous words said by the Apostle Paul, that “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race...” (2 Tim. 4:7 NLT)

Remember, that in God’s Kingdom, the race is neither to the swift or to the strong, but rather to the one who perseveres in obedience to His will. And also remember that the course set before you is unique to you (Heb. 12:1), so never feel as if you have anyone else to compete with. Just run your course and you will inevitably win!