Thursday thoughts: 'Love is journey, not a destination'


My very first date with my husband was on Valentine’s Day in 1974. We were both in the 10th grade at the same high school. He was a basketball player and I was a cheerleader. I won’t say I fell in love with him on the first date, which by the way was at the circus, but I did enjoy his company and considered that there might be potential for a relationship there. He, on the other hand, told me he was going to marry me on our first date!

I remember thinking it was funny and he might be a little crazy. What 10th grader even thinks about marriage? However, three years later we were engaged and getting married at 19 years of age. We were young, naïve, and honestly did not have a complete concept of what love really meant.

Over the past 46 years of marriage, I have learned some truths about love. The first thing I know about love is God – God is love and the only true and perfect love in this life. In John 13:34 the Bible says “A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

God is the creator of love. He loved me first. His love is never-ending. His love is perfect. God’s love is the example we follow to teach us how to love others.

Another thing I have learned is that love is a journey, not a destination. Personally, I don’t think you ever end your journey of love. If it was a destination you would say you arrived and that would be the end of your trip. However, with love, you don’t end your trip you just keep traveling.

Along my and Wayne’s journey of love there have been many twists, turns, detours, potholes, and hard roads to travel. These road hazards are what have made our love stronger. We have traveled those hard roads together. We have also traveled those hard roads with God.

Life does not always take you on the paved, clearly marked roads. One of the hard roads our life has taken us down is a road called autism with our daughter. This is a journey we would not have chosen to go down, however the only way we can maneuver that road is with the love that God has provided for us. This road is one we have been on for almost 40 years. It’s a continuing journey, but it’s a journey of love. We have traveled this road loving God, loving each other, and loving our daughter. I can look back at our lives and see that God has been with us every step of the way on this journey. The twists, detours, potholes and hard roads to travel have strengthened and increased our love for each other along with our faith and love for God. He has provided for us spiritually, emotionally, and at times financially. I can honestly say I don’t know how we would have made it without the love of God.

If you think about it, the tests and trials you face increase your love, respect, appreciation, and dependence on the person who is walking beside you. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God loves me completely. I know and have seen His hand of protection on our daughter’s life. I also know that He has been the one to sustain and provide for Wayne and me to walk down this difficult road.

The difficulties have grown my faith and my trust in God. I have learned that I can’t let my circumstances shape or form my image or my relationship with God. God loves me completely whether I am traveling on a difficult road or a smooth road. I cannot even imagine how people walk hard roads without God leading them.

My love for my husband is so much greater than it was when I was nineteen. My love for God is also so much greater than when I first was saved. When I look back on my life I can see how the experiences I have faced have increased my love for God.

Maybe your journey is not with autism. Maybe it is with sickness, the loss of a loved one, financial difficulties, or circumstances that have caused your heart to break. I don’t know what your tough road might be but I do know that God can and will walk that road with you through every difficulty you face.

One of my favorite verses is Psalms 32:7-8 which says “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (The Lord says) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” God is my hiding place. God is my protection. God will stay close to me along the pathway of my life. He does all this because He loves me! His desire is to walk with all of us.

Who are you walking with today? I pray that you are walking hand in hand with the One who will always love you the most - God.


Jill Johnson, a staff member at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, finds spiritual applications in her everyday experiences as a wife, mother, grandmother and Georgian. She is available to speak to your church's women's gatherings. Reach her at