Earlier this month, my wife Tracey and I walked the West Highland Way which is a 96 mile trail in Scotland that runs from Milngavie to Fort William.
In a sense this journey began In 2002 when we drove along a part of the route and we were left in awe and wonder by the majestic scenery and views so much so that at the end of the drive we decided that we wanted to walk through this amazing countryside. On our return home we bought a map which suggested breaking the walk into 8 stages and we did some research into the places we would have to stay, we got very excited but then we realized that the journey would be much too long with our two sons who were both under 5 at the time.
Over the years our talk about walking the Way lessened and with our two daughters arriving the journey was still impractical and so over time our precious dream was lost.
During the second part of 2017, Tracey and I started walking each Friday as a way of finding some space together in our over busy lives and as we got up to the distances required to complete each stage of the Way our dream began to re emerge. We started to dare to believe that it was something we could actually accomplish and we worked out that with the help of some lovely relatives and a Scripture Union camp that we could be child free for the time we would need to travel to Scotland and walk the Way. In January, the dream came alive! We booked accommodation for each night of the walk and we stepped up our walks and also began increasing the weight in our backpacks.
As our walk start date drew nearer we got more and more excited but with the heat wave our training walks got shorter and shorter and a combination of factors meant that some weeks we didn’t walk at all in July and early August.
On day 1 of our walk we were due to be walking 14 miles and somehow we ended up walking 16. Around the 8 mile mark I was exhausted and so we stopped for a rest and I stumbled through the rest of the day but that evening I could hardly walk. I have to be honest and say that I thought my walk was over but in the morning I felt not too bad and so on day 2 we walked the few miles towards Conic Hill (see picture below) before heading up and over it (just over 350m high).
I started to work out if I could use public transport to skip a bit of the route on some days but then each morning I felt okay and so off we went.
In 2002 we had a dream and that dream was lost for many years. I wonder if this is a parable or picture of our personal or church life?
We have this great dream of the Kingdom of God which is a reality in which people’s lives are transformed, where people recognize that God is king and where we clearly see God at work.
Perhaps in some of our churches the dream of the Kingdom has been replaced by the reality of what we can see around us. Instead of talking about God and what he is doing, our discussions become dominated with phrases like ‘we are very small’, ‘it will never work’, ‘we don’t have the resources’ etc.
As we walked our walk and lived our dream, I really struggled and at several points I nearly gave up and I wonder if this is a parable or picture of our personal or church life?
Perhaps you have leapt out in faith and you’ve ended in a place where you don’t have the resources to finish what has been started. This is the point where we can either trust in God or panic, where we can persevere in our walk with God or go off looking for quick fixes to try to make things safe and sensible.
The wonderful thing about living the dream of the Kingdom of God is that it is all about Jesus! We think that to be successful in Kingdom terms that we need vast resources and lots of people but in contrast, Jesus started with 12 and when he sent them out he told the to take nothing with them for the journey. We think we need to be powerful but in contrast Jesus taught that we need to become like little children. The dream of the Kingdom involves a complete reliance on Jesus rather than us trying to stretch what we have to be enough.
What dream has God given you? If you aren’t sure, then consider how can you create space to receive God’s inspiration and leading?
If you are believing for that dream to become a reality, are you willing to rely on Jesus or are you trying to build His Kingdom in your own strength?
As we walk the Way with Jesus, it’s encouraging that he is with us always. Let’s look to him allowing him to lead, strengthen and inspire us as we travel with Him through life.