Spring Break 1994. It was 5:00 AM, and we were a twelve hour drive away from our destination: the snowy slopes of Crested Butte, Colorado. I had never been to Crested Butte before, but I was in luck. One of the other guys who was going on the trip had grown up vacationing at Crested Butte and would be leading the three car caravan all the way to the top of the mountain.
After everything was loaded up and ready to go, we all pulled out from our Norman residence and headed west. Three cars in all, following the tail lights of the Big White Yukon wherever it went. These were the days before Google Maps or GPS navigation. Heck, I did not even have an atlas in the car with me. My only map was the mind of the driver in front of me, therefore, I was determined not to lose him.
My only problem was that I think he was determined to lose me. My guide hit the town moving fast . . . then sped up. To make matters worse, we did not have cell phones, and a thick fog was rolling in. If I wanted to get to Crested Butte that night I had to either keep up or buy a map. Since buying a map is akin to declaring failure for the average man, I sped up and tried my best to keep the tail lights in view. We went through small towns and unmarked dirt roads (I kid you not), as we headed to Crested Butte. Our guide had been there many times before and knew the short cuts all the way there. In the end, we made it . . . and I am glad that we did. We enjoyed four days of powdery white snow at an amazing ski resort: quite a prize for simply keeping up.
I was thinking of this story today as I read Revelation 14:1-5 and saw the description of a particular set of faithful men and women who will live on the earth in the last days before Christ’s return. These people (144,000 in all) are described in 14:4 in this way, “They follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” Knowing their great need. Knowing that they desire to spend eternity in paradise. Knowing that they do not know or have the ability to get there on their own, the 144,000 are said to stick with the One who knows the way. The One who had grown up on this earth and lived the perfectly righteous life and who now resides in heaven: they have chosen to make Him their guide. Where He goes, they go. Where He directs them to stay they stay. What He directs them to do, they do. They have no other map to navigate this life, so they will follow Him, their living map, wherever He goes.
What a joy it is for them as they do this! They actually (according to 14:3) get to sing a song to the Savior that no one else knows. This seems to be an indication that because of what their Savior, the Lamb, has done for them specifically, they have praises to sing that no one else even does because they have followed the Lamb down certain paths and seen Him do certain things in their everyday lives. They followed the Lamb and it was worth it.
We can learn a lot from the example of these 144,000. We also need help navigating our journey through this life to our final destination. We also desire to spend eternity in paradise and have a special song of personalized praise to sing to the King. If we desire that, then our task is the same as this future population: we need to follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Sure, we cannot see Him with our eyes, but He has given us some tremendous resources to know His direction so that we might follow Him through the fog of our lives.
He has revealed Himself to us through His Word, the Bible. We know His character and the kinds of things He is about by reading what He has revealed to us from Genesis-Revelation. Knowing that He never changes gives us the confidence that He will not suddenly decide that “Colorado is East of Oklahoma.” Just as Colorado is always West of here, so Christ’s truth never changes.
He also reveals Himself to us through the inner testimony of His Holy Spirit. The Spirit rests on Christ and can lead us in the directions that God desires that we go. Galatians 5:25 tells us that it is God’s desire that we “keep in step with the Spirit” and His leading in our lives. In a sense, this is reminding us to “keep His tail lights in view” as we speed through the world in which we live.
I was convinced that my friend in 1994 wanted to lose me on our journey west. As I read the Scriptures, I am convinced that Jesus wants to keep us close as we blow through this life: Following Him wherever He goes.