Posted by: Billy Marsh | May 12, 2007

What is the joy? What kind of journey?

Michael Card’s song “Joy in the Journey” is probably one of my favorite songs. The emotive lyrics and the swelling instrumentation carry me away to a very reflective and meditative state of mind. It always stirs up my soul and brings me back to square one. If you listen to his live version of this song on his live greatest hits album, “Scribbling in the Sand”, you will hear him agreeing with you in yearning and longing for Jesus. This song comforts and helps me continue to endure in a corrupted body and a cursed world. However, what the song doesn’t allow you to do is despise this present life. There is Joy in the Journey, not joy after the journey. And this is why I have chosen the meaning of Card’s song to be my site theme. It best sums up what type of Christian worldview that I attempt to emulate daily. There are two concepts in this song that my life revolves around: joy and journey.

First, noone has taught me more to delight in God and find my joy in seeing and savoring Jesus Christ than John Piper. This type of Christian spirituality is holiness for the sake of holiness. Godliness for the sake of godliness. Like the great Puritan preacher John Owen, holiness and godliness are not means to other ends like blessings, career success, or a good marriage, but instead are solely for the sake of communing with God. In Deuteronomy 10:21, Moses tells the people that, “He [God] is your praise.” The apostle Paul also exemplified that Jesus was his present joy when he proclaimed in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” But, I think Jesus summed it up best when he prayed to the Father in his high priestly prayer in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Knowing Jesus is my joy. We are to live in the “newness of life” now on earth (Rom 6:4). The resurrection of Christ has made this possible. Therefore, I find my joy in Christ and my boast only in the cross (Galatians 6:14).

Second, the imagery of a journey has long dominated my worldview. Even before The Lord of the Rings came into my life, I perceived my Christian walk as a sort of pilgrimage. I always felt as if I were on a long journey home, except this was a home where I had never been before. Weird eh? Well, not really. As I have matured in my knowledge and understanding of the sojourner mentality, I came to realize that this mindset is replete in the Bible as well as in Christian history. For example, one of the most popular and widely known fiction works in human history speaks directly on this matter, namely John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Though I don’t want to abuse the main meaning of the Prodical son parable, the Lord uses the journey motif to stir up in my heart great affection for the day that my journey’s end will come and I can see the Father running towards me over the horizon ready to escort into the wedding feast of the Lamb and into a heavenly home of perfect joy and eternal rest.

Here are the lyrics to Card’s song “Joy in the Journey”. Please find a way to listen to this song and let it impact you for the sake of Christ. Check by later as I will begin to build a biblical theology concerning my understanding of the sojourner mentality from Hebrews 11:13-16 and what the meaning is of the picture in my backdrop. God be praised!

There is a joy in the journey,
There’s a light we can love on the way.
There is a wonder and wildness to life, and freedom for those who obey.

All those who seek it shall find it,
a pardon for all who believe.
Hope for the hopeless and sight for the blind.

To all who’ve been born of the Spirit
And who share incarnation with him;
Who belong to eternity, stranded in time,
And weary of struggling with sin.

Forget not the hope that’s before you,
And never stop counting the cost.
Remember the hopelessness when you were lost?

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Responses

  1. Billy,
    When that song first came out in the early ’90’s it meant a lot to me. You know my struggles…I have lost a lot of the joy in the journey and need to refocus. Thanks for the joyful reminder!

  2. Billy,
    Something very dear to me at this juncture in my life is our growing friendship. I continue to be pointed to Christ and the reality of his kingdom before us. I look forward to your biblical musings doing the same for many others.


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