Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rough Road Ahead

We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side of God's throne!

-- Hebrews 12:2

The Christ-follower’s faith-journey is often compared to travel along an uneven, winding road or a perilous climb up a craggy mountainside. After all, we never know what’s around the bend or over the next hill. Our vision is limited. And it’s all too easy to lose our footing on the steep inclines and fall back a little.

An excellent illustration of this eternal lesson involves a beautiful spot in the Blue Ridge Mountains called Crabtree Falls. Located about a half hour’s drive past Charlottesville, Virginia, it demands a strenuous hike once you finally park your car. But it’s very much worth it; the view is spectacular.

Like our faith-journey, the narrow, rocky trail leading to the waterfall leaves little margin for error. There’s even a sign at the water’s edge that warns hikers to stick close to the path. Several people – the sign explains – have died after slipping on the moss-covered rocks. Rather than keeping their eyes on the marked trail, these unfortunate adventurers apparently decided to take a detour. Their way might have promised fun and adventure at the time. But ultimately, it delivered only tragedy.

“There is a way that appears to be right,” we’re warned through the Old Testament book of Proverbs. “But in the end it leads to death.”
God – like that sign posted at the waterfall’s edge – urges us to stay on the path that leads to the intended destination. But as obvious as that sounds, life’s problems, temptations and tragedies seem to wait for us around the next bend. And we always trip after compromising our principles with the world’s values. It’s then that we fall down and wonder why God permitted our problems in the first place.

Rather than potholes, loose rocks and hairpin turns, the hazards along our faith-journey involve unemployment, broken relationships, missed credit card payments, and chronic disease. Our task is therefore to focus on our Guide and remember that we worship a God who’s much greater than our circumstances. He’s led us safely through the rough times before…and so He can do again today. And through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, God has already defeated our greatest life-hazard: sin.

Is your faith-journey getting a little too rough? If it’s not now, it will later. But let’s be encouraged by that famous rhetorical question from Paul, Jesus’ Apostle to the Gentiles: “If God is for us,” he wrote, “who can be against us?”

Following Jesus is you guarantee for reaching the goal of your faith-journey. The trip – as well as the view -- will be unforgettable!

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