Imagine that there is a direct road from where you live to the most perfect place on Earth. This particular place possesses everything you’ve ever dreamed of as far as beauty, serenity, peace, and relaxation. You’ve often dreamed of taking a vacation there but there never was a way that you could get there. But now this direct road has been built, and all you have to do is get in your car and drive down this road.
Now what if I told you that along this road you would encounter a few obstacles? You would definitely go through a hurricane, a tornado, a mudslide, a windstorm, an earthquake, a blizzard, a hailstorm, numerous shifts and detours, as well as countless other delays you couldn’t even imagine. Would you still want to go?
Many of us may say, ‘that’s okay, maybe it’s not worth it.’ You even may see if there is an alternative: ‘can I get there another way?’ But since this is the most direct path there, any other way would take even longer. In other words, this is the only road.
For those of us that walk with Christ, our lives mirror this road. We know that on our way to the most perfect place one can ever imagine, we will have many bumps and bruises on that path. The ‘hurricanes’ of money problems and ‘tornadoes’ of job loss, the ‘mudslides’ of slipping health and the ‘windstorms’ of relationship problems-these are all impediments that in some form or fashion we experience. When the ‘earthquake’ of losing a loved one shakes up our lives, we often may wonder why we ever chose to walk with Christ in the first place.
To be fair, Jesus did warn us that this would be the case. In John 15:20, Jesus reminded his disciples that ‘if they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.’ He told them this to let them know that as he suffered for his life’s work, they would indeed suffer too. Living for Christ does indeed have a cost. But Romans 8:17 also tells us that ‘if we are [God’s] children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.’ To be identified with Christ also means that we will be glorified with Christ. This is good news!
There is only one road we can take when we walk with Christ. We cannot avoid the suffering that will come our way, and we may feel that some of it may even be undeserved. Surely Job felt this way as the Lord took away everything he had except for his life. But the Lord will use our suffering to perfect our character, to strengthen our faith, and to give us a testimony that would ultimately bring more people to him. When we look at it through that lens, it can give us purpose and meaning to taking that trip. If we desire to be true disciples of Christ, we should be burning to take that trip.
So do you want to go now? Paradise awaits. Your bags are packed. The road has been built. Your transportation is ready. Knowing what you know, do you still want to go? If you don’t, you don’t know what you’re missing. You’ll miss out on the greatest destination one could ever envision!