Wednesday, May 28, 2014

When God Asks You To Do Something Difficult

My journey of faith has interwoven with some incredible people, God using our threads to weave a grand tapestry. Some of those threads have been exotic, attractive while others were the cotton -- the backbone. He has used each of these people to change and mould me into the person that He is creating. Each of us is merely one thread in the whole garment, with our own roles to play.

There have been times on these journey's when the road has been spectacular. This past New Years I was given a great gift by my parents-in-law of a family trip to Maui, Hawaii. It was a fantastic week with everything that you would expect from a tropical trip. Beautiful weather, long stretches of white sand and exotic snorkelling.

We took one of those days to make the trip around the Island to Hana, a small fishing village in the middle of nowhere. It is the kind of trip that they talk up to be an adventure for people who do not usually undertake adventures. As if driving on a well-paved highway was one of the most dangerous things you could do with your vacation.

While the trip did not fully live up to its advertised danger, the road was incredibly curvy, as we weaved with the shape God carved into the landscape. The pay-off was not in the destination, but in the journey you take to get there. Stunning vista's, open ocean, lush tropical fauna and more await you on the trip. It was a highlight, especially the sunset that awaited us on our way home.

These journeys are not always smooth -- especially if you want an adventure. On the way home, my Father-in-law decided he wanted to drive the 'forbidden' route on the way home. The place where insurance companies will not cover you, and where tourists do not dare tread. Now this is an adventure.

The road on the back of the Island is distance-wise similar to the normal road, but memory-wise significantly more exciting. There are large parts of the 'highway' that are unpaved, leaving you at the mercy of erosion as the tropical rain clawing away the road as the land drags it down the slope to the ocean. Instead of a tourist-friendly two-lane highway, you are left with a nerve racking two, but sometimes one, lane road with oncoming traffic on the face of a steep, mountainous cliff.

Bouncing around like cowboys holding on for dear life, we traversed the back of Maui taking in sights that far less eyes get to see. As we wisened up to the multitude of warnings along the way, there were more than a few moments where we were debating turning back, because the road seemed impassible. Yet those moments, in hindsight were a minority of the overall journey home, a mere fifth of the journey.

Coming out the other side of the forbidden zone, God greeted us with this:

Immediately the sore bottoms, and shaken stomachs were worth it.
You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
-Matthew 7:13-14
Take that lesser road. Life will be dangerous, your knuckles will be white with stress at times, and there may be times when you wonder if you will see the comfort of home again. It will be an adventure, and not in the mass-produced tourist-friendly pamphlet way. You will gain scars, wounds and memories along the way. Change is an expected part of the journey as you learn about yourself and others. This is not the easy road.

It is the right road.

Remember, the next time God asks you to do something difficult, the views are so worth it.

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