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  • Writer's picturePastor Jim Stultz

O the Joy!

One of my favorite books to read is the descriptive account of the Lewis and Clark journey. Stephen Ambrose’s book, Undaunted Courage recounts the arduous journey of the Corps of Discovery from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean. After eighteen months of unbelievable hardships they were paddling the Columbia River, when the fog lifted to reveal the Columbia River Estuary near the Pacific Ocean. On Nov. 7, 1805 Captain William Clark records in his journal the words: “Ocean in view, O! the joy?”

The U.S. Mint commemorated the Westward Journey with a series of 4 nickels. One nickel has Jefferson on one side with a picture of the Pacific and three pine trees overlooking a rocky coast on the other. The words: “Ocean in view, O! the joy” are proudly inscribed. Just imagine the overwhelming feeling of those men whose journey was coming to a close as they saw their destination before them.

Life is a journey. The way we are called to travel sometimes is difficult. We endure physical suffering, hard wearisome toil, and emotional turmoil. It seems that many of us have to paddle upstream and take the long way through. I am acquainted with many of God’s dear children who have traveled the long journey and are now nearing the end of the river. The closer they get to the end many of them seem to almost catch a vision of their final destination. The great apostle Paul wrote about his own experience of nearing the end with these words: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:22-24). He described death and his departure to be with Christ as far better.

Dear believer in Christ, if you are weary and overwhelmed by the cares of life, take a lesson from that Lewis and Clark nickel. Only read it this way: “Heaven in view, O! the joy!

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