Am I On The Right Road?
I cannot imagine being out there in that rain for a long period, drenched and in need of a good wring. But I do have an idea.
When I was in Seoul, Korea, I went out with a small group of young people from our church consisted of men, with the exception of myself, to climb Mt. Seorak. Seoraksan, as it is called, is the third highest mountain in Korea. The ladies decided not to go as they had seen that the weather was raining and predicted that it won't be worth the effort to go up. But I thought that I won't be in Korea forever and that may be my only chance to explore a new place and do something interesting--- climb Korea's most beautiful mountain. My companions were worried for me but I assured them that if I get too much of a burden, then they just have to leave me. For which, they shook their heads vigorously. Being a foreigner, my life was in their hands.
Ignorantly, I wore the wrong clothes. I had no idea what people wear on a mountain climb. Back in my home country, young people or most people just wear jeans for most of their lives when going outside of their homes. So that's what I wore on that highly active day.
The climb was simply wonderful. It was the most beautiful time of the year. Autumn colors were everywhere, so were the chummy squirrels. As we started up, the mist covered the mountain and I felt like Moses going up to meet with God on mount Sinai. I was filled with awe. There were other climbers and they were friendly. It was like the common goal of reaching the top gave each one of us a spirit of camaraderie. When we got to the top, all the efforts of getting there was gone, with only success on our minds.
Then, it was time to go down. One of the guys told me it won't be as easy as going up. I didn't know that we were taking a different route from what we've taken to climb up. With victory still fresh and pumping adrenaline inside of me, I didn't mind at all until it grew cold, dark and discouraging.
A short time along the way, the sun vanished and rain started to pour. We walked faster. The rain pounded on us until we were soaking wet. The way going down was muddy. At the back of my mind, I whined, Why are we going here? My jeans were so wet and heavy that they were dragging on the mud and myself down. I rolled them up. But what I really wanted to do was to take them off and throw them away on the fast running stream that we passed by. It was so heavy I felt like I had chains of iron around my ankles and I could barely take steps in them. It was pure torture to lift my legs up just so I could keep going. I didn't want to let the guys know of the excruciating labor of walking so I sang. They sang with me. But somehow I could sense that they know. They waited on me. In turn, I was embarrassed.
We passed by breathtaking scenes of splashing streams and autumn colors, but I could not enjoy them fully. I just couldn't get my mind off from my jeans that turned armor on me. Eventually, after a lot of songs sang, we reached bottom where our transport was waiting. I was relieved.
Some days as Christians, the road we trudge on may seem alarmingly difficult that we ask ourselves whether we really are going where Jesus leads. Like, seriously? Is this really where God wants me to go? Or do we really want to go while we are being dragged back by heavy weights, an armor we put up on to protect ourselves?
This happens when we clearly hear God's command, "This is the way, walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21). And the "way" may be forgiving somebody we don't want to forgive, loving or living with people we don't want to have anything to do with, something that includes financial sacrifice, or giving up something we don't want to.
When we find ourselves in this dilemma, what do we do? I mean, it's easy to walk with God when the way is good, the weather is bright and joyful and you're in the company of loving people; but when the road gets cold, dark and discouraging and you find the journey difficult and even made more distasteful by the people you think you have to put up with, what do you do? Do you lose confidence in the Guide? Do you go on your own?
NO. To go on our own is a sure way to disaster. Only God knows the way. Only Jesus is the way. Our only recourse is to stay close as possible to the Guide, even holding unto His shirttails so we may not lose sight of Him. There actually is no other option.
Hear Job's testimony: Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15). For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth (Job 19:25). And Job, despite losing everything--- his world caving in in one day, kept on following God.
We keep following Jesus under all circumstances, whether uphill or downhill, good roads or bad roads, when things make sense or they don't, when all is well or not, asking God for the only garment fitted for the journey--- His righteousness. Why? Because Jesus has proven Himself enough. His grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9). In His grace we will make it, in any circumstances--- in beautiful scenery or in parched deserts--- with the people He asks us to love.
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
(Habakkuk 3:17, 18)
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