Yesterday I went on a quick one-night backpacking trip (6 miles in!). I had to head out early this morning (47 miles out!) because of some other commitments this weekend.
While hiking in, there is a stretch that climbs over 400 feet in under a half mile. I've learned it is easier for me to climb these steep grades if I keep my eyes down and just keeping pushing towards the next step. When I look up and try to see how much further I have to go, it feels like I get more tired, quicker, and I have to take more breaks along the way. Sometimes, I even get discouraged at my progress.
As I was climbing this particular path, talking to God, I realized how likely I am to continue on a path, no matter how difficult, when I know the end destination or at least the distance for which it is going to be difficult. And yet, when I don't know the end, how quick I am to stop and question the cost, my motives, or if a destination even exists that is worth the effort.
You can probably see where my mind was going with this. Many of us don't take time to reflect on the end of our discipleship path. Often, this leads us to stop and question the cost, or even worse, choose the 'easier' path that seems like it takes us in the same direction.
But, did you know there is different rewards in the end? Jesus pointed it out again and again. Here are a couple:
"But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal" - Matthew 6:20
"For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds." - Matthew 16:27
So, if obedience leads to a life that is more fullfilling here, and greater reward in Heaven, what sacrifices are you really making when you choose the easier path? If we choose an easier path, we may never know the results God had prepared for us.
And, how do we choose a more difficult path, through obedience, when we can't see the end? Since we can't travel through time, we must trust the One who can, and believe that He is of character worth believing. Otherwise, why wouldn't we take an apparently easier path?
Today, if you can trust the character of the One who tells you it will all be worth it, can you keep your head down and take the next step, no matter how difficult it may seem to obey? If you can, I believe the destination is worth reaching!
There's within my heart a melody;
Jesus whispers sweet and low,
"Fear not, I am with you, peace, be still,"
in all of life's ebb and flow.
Though sometimes He leads through waters deep,
trials fall across the way;
though sometimes the path seems rough and steep,
see His footprints all the way.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
sweetest name I know,
fills my every longing,
keeps me singing as I go.