The home stretch is the last part of a long or difficult activity. The home stretch is that part of any trip when you realize you are almost home. Your travels are almost over, the project is almost completed, the treatment is almost done, the baby is almost here, and your degree is almost in hand. To be in the home stretch is a good feeling.

I do not know how it is for you but when I am traveling and get in the home stretch it is hard to slow down. I want to put the pedal to the metal and move on down the road. I want to get home. I cannot get there fast enough.

Teachers may feel the home stretch when they get into the last few weeks of school. Football teams may feel the home stretch when they are in the fourth quarter with a big lead. The business professional may feel the home stretch when they have checked out of their hotel, finished their last meeting, and headed to the airport. The physician may not feel the home stretch until she has seen her last patient of the day. The bride and groom may not feel the home stretch until they are walking down the aisle to begin the ceremony. Wherever we feel it, the home stretch is a wonderful feeling.

These passages in the New Testament remind us what we have to look forward to as we enter the home stretch of our spiritual journey.

The prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) surely felt the home stretch when he "came to his senses" and took the first step toward home. He felt it more fully when he looked up and saw his father running toward him with open arms.

There will come a time when we will be nearing the finish of our race and as we do we will hear the cheers of the "great cloud of witnesses" gathered and waiting for us to join in the celebration:

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect (Hebrews 11:39-40 NIV).

The difficulties of the journey will quickly fade as we see the open arms of our Father.
We are all on a journey. At times our journey will be enjoyable and at times the journey will be difficult and filled with sadness. We will reach a point where the end is in sight. At some point we will be in the home stretch. With images similar to those above circling in our minds, we will be ready to get there as fast as possible. The difficulties of the journey will quickly fade as we see the open arms of our Father. The joys of the journey will fade in comparison to the celebration we will experience as we are greeted by those who have been waiting for us.

In every journey there is a time when we realize we are in the home stretch. The miles we have traveled are unimportant. The cost of the journey will not matter. Our only concern is making it home. Keep traveling. Keep looking toward home.