The First Half of the Journey

This article was first published on August 31, 2003 by Pastor Rod Schorr



Call her foolish if you like—I'm sure many will—but, I for one, admire Lillian Alling. And lately, I have to say, I've been thinking about what she did and how much it resembles what you and I, as Christians in this world, are going through these days.

Although she was just a lowly servant—an immigrant from Russia, as a matter of fact—Lillian Alling's story made the headlines back in 1927. That year, just about everybody knew her name. She was a remarkable woman with a remarkable sense of purpose and perseverance. 

 It all started when Lillian finally realized that life in New York City was not the life for her. She was homesick: She was lonely, and—oh!—how she longed for her native land once again!

 The problem was that she had only $100 to her name.  She wouldn't think of accepting charity, and she was afraid to hitchhike. And so Lillian Alling quite calmly decided to set out on the long journey from New York to Russia—Are you ready for this?—on foot!

Equipped with maps, a backpack, a little dog for protection and companionship, which she dearly loved, and—for more protection yet—an iron bar for a weapon, Lillian Alling passed through Chicago, Winnepeg, British Columbia, the Yukon and finally made her way all the way to Nome, Alaska.     It took her two years just to get that far and she was only halfway to her destination! Somewhere along the way, her lonely journey became lonelier yet—when her dog died in the midst of a brutal Yukon snowstorm.

But that didn't stop Lillian. Sometime later, she was spotted on Cape 'Prince of Wales' high in the Arctic Circle—where she booked a tiny vessel and sailed across the 36 mile-long Bering Strait, of all things!

 From there she would set foot in Siberia. Of course. But from that point on, the western press lost track of Lillian Alling.

I can assure you, however, she made it home! The first half of her journey is proof positive of that, don't you think?

Like I said, Lillian Alling's story has set me to thinking lately, about what you and I are going through these days as "Strangers and pilgrims on earth"  Heb. 11:13

I mean, let's face it: Life is no piece of cake, and lately, it seems as if the journey just keeps getting harder and harder.

Believe me, I know: In addition to my own journey, i've been praying for all of you! And I know what the journey has been like for many of you! Not easy: with job layoffs, and family struggles, and medical bills and scary diagnoses; with quiet houses and loved ones lost

I know about these things.  They come to mind when I pray for you.  And I pray for you, one-by-one, by name every week! But you do know that all of this is the 'first half of the journey', right?

And how you handled the first half speaks volumes about the rest!  You're going to make it!  It's guaranteed! The God who loves you enough to send his Son is not about to let you get overwhelmed along the way! "I will never leave you nor forsake you,"  He once told us, remember? (Heb 13:5) He is with you every step of the way! And you're going to make it home!

I see an awful lot of courage, faith and perseverance too. The kind that takes it one step at a time, with "home" as the ultimate goal.  God bless you dear Christian. Just keep on and don't look back!



See you Sunday!                                 RAS

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