I remember four years ago the first time I took a plane to South Africa. The first leg of the journey was 4 hours from Manchester to Istanbul, followed by 8 hours from Istanbul to Durban. Halfway through that second flight, it was the middle of the night and yet I was unable to sleep – as is always the case for me on long haul flights. I got up out of my seat and headed towards the toilet. I remember walking past the rows and rows of seats full of people, cramped into this one small container travelling hundreds of miles per hour suspended miles above the earth. It was very claustrophobic and I was rather sleep deprived. It was a thoroughly surreal experience.
Here I was, the furthest from home I’d ever been without my family, wide awake and alone in said awakeness. It seemed as though I’d been in that plane for longer than I could remember. The car journey from Leeds to Manchester less than 24 hours ago now seemed like a distant memory. I had no control over the passage of time or how fast the plane travelled. All I could do was quietly occupy myself, waiting until we landed.
At some points I would relax, enjoying the in flight entertainment system and my lack of responsibility, and at others I would tense up and want to kick in frustration at being confined to such a space. Inside that cabin with the lights turned off, one could almost forget the plane was moving to a destination at all. In the immediate moment, the plane seemed almost static, a metal tank made simply to contain us all.
But I didn’t forget the plane was moving, I remembered very deliberately that it was. For all the immediate circumstances felt stagnant and cramped, I remembered that I was on an adventure. I was on a journey to a land I’d never been to before, travelling with an amazing group of people to visit and support an incredible project. I had to remember where we were going, and that sometimes life really is about the destination and not the journey.
I sit here writing this, quarantining alone at my uni house in York. At some points I relax, enjoying my free time and lack of responsibility, and at other times I want to kick in frustration at being confined to such a space. I have no control over the passage of time or how quickly the nation can safely get back to “normal”. All I can do is wait patiently for this plane to land. In the midst of all this it is so easy to forget that we are still in fact on an adventure.
We are on a journey which has a destination. The things of this world will crumble and fall – some will now, others will later – but the kingdom of heaven will not pass away. And so, we must press on with faith and perseverance, not fearing what is visible but fixing our eyes on the truth that is invisible. Death has no sting, Jesus is Lord, and soon we will be coming home.
Whatever your situation is in this pandemic, know that we are not stood still. The world feels like it’s stopped, but God is always on the move. Your life is a journey, and if you know God then you do yourself a disservice if you don’t remind yourself where that journey is heading – towards peace, joy, restoration and everlasting love
Remember where we’re going, because it’s flipping amazing!
Written by Ben Tailby, Hope City York