During the Red Shield Appeal earlier this year, I was collecting money at Darwin Airport. While I stood there, collecting bucket in hand, I had a great opportunity to do some people-watching.
I observed people who were leaving on a trip and those who were saying goodbye to others who were leaving. I saw a range of different emotions.
There was absolute joy from those about to get on a plane for a holiday, but also deep sadness in those saying goodbye to a loved one who was going away for a long time.
As I stood there, I thought about the fact that every one of us is on a journey of some kind.
For some of us, the journey is one of pure joy, where everything is an exciting adventure. For others, life is hard and we don’t know how we are going to travel the rocky road we seem to be on.
Similarly, for some the road is clear and straight and we think we know exactly what lies ahead, while, for others, there are turns in the road that are unexpected and which take us by surprise.
No-one knows what tomorrow will bring. We don’t know whether there are turns ahead that we have no way of anticipating, nor can we confidently say that the road ahead will be smooth and easy to travel.
But one thing we can say is that, no matter what the future holds, no matter how rough the road gets, no matter how many unexpected turns there are, we are not travelling this road alone.
And so while I watched people at Darwin Airport who were travelling alone to far-off places, I said ‘thank you’ to God that wherever I go, I am never alone.
In the Bible we are told that God tells us that he ‘brought his people out like a flock; he led them like sheep through the desert. He guided them safely, so they were unafraid’ (Psalm 78, verses 52–53).
We can thank God when the road is smooth and we can also ask for his help to get through the rough patches, because he promises to meet our needs (Philippians chapter 4, verse 19).
We can have confidence that, no matter where we go, no matter what we are doing, God is guiding us. God is ahead of us on the journey and we don’t have to be afraid.