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—Dr. Sam Smith is the organizer of Butterfly Ministries and can be reached at

“He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” [Psalm 23:3-4]

One of the blessings of baby boomers is that during our childhood we had good television programs to watch. Remember how good those shows were? Andy Griffith, Father Know Best, Leave It To Beaver, Dick Van Dyke to name a few. And my favorite, the westerns: Gun Smoke, Rawhide, The Rifleman, The Lawman, Wagon Train.

Wagon Train is the one I want to focus on for this article. You will see why shortly. Wagon Train was about a group of men who led folks from The Eastern United States to the West. People would leave their homes in the East to start a new life in the West. They considered the West the “Promised Land”.

A good friend of mine came up with the idea of comparing the journey of the pioneers heading west to our journey of life. Life is a journey from birth to death – beginning on earth and traveling to our eternity. For those who accept Jesus as Savior, their journey leads to heaven.

Our journey on earth consists of a variety of good times and hard times. The pioneers experienced all sorts of trials as they sojourned toward their destination. Most of their journey was just traveling. They would get up in the morning, break camp, get in their wagons or on their horses and prepare to handle whatever the day brought them.

On a good day, they covered a good distance without incident. On a fair day, they might break a wheel or endure a mild storm. On a bad day, they might have to cross a raging river and lose a few things, or even sustain injuries. On a terrible day, they might encounter hostile Indians or bandits, and some fellow travelers would lose their lives.

Given enough time and after surviving the journey, they would reach the Promised Land. They would look back on their journey and see that all the hard times and even the tragedies were worth the trouble. Now, can you see the comparison between the journey of the pioneers and our journey to heaven?

Most of our days are just routine. We get up, complete necessary tasks, go to bed and start over the next day. But every now and then we encounter hardships: we get sick, we get injured, we face financial problems, something breaks down. Some days it is much harder: a loved one develops a serious illness, a loved one dies, we sustain a serious injury or we are diagnosed with a terminal illness. Any of these occurrences will interrupt our journey and make it seem more difficult. On Wagon Train, Major Adams guided the wagons, protected the pioneers and kept them in line. It was his job to get them to the Promised Land.

We have it a lot better than the pioneers. Our Wagon-Master is the Holy Spirit sent by Christ Jesus. Major Adams did his best, but he did not know what lay ahead for the pioneers. Our Leader sees the whole journey before we ever begin. We will encounter some hostile enemies, some swollen rivers, some broken wheels, some high mountains, and hot, dry, barren deserts and valleys. That’s just the way life’s journey goes, but we will overcome all obstacles with Jesus as our guide. Some of us will reach the Promise Land sooner than others, but when we get there our loved ones who knew Jesus as Savior will be waiting for us. We will look back over the journey and understand the reason for every obstacle, every detour, every hardship and even every tragedy. We will see that we never needed to feel afraid.

So, load your wagon, hitch the team and listen for the Master to call

“WAGONS---HOOOO!” You are headed for the Promise Land.

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” [Hebrews 13:5-6] AMEN!

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—Dr. Sam Smith is the organizer of Butterfly Ministries and can be reached at