Every individual goes through good times and challenging times.
Have you been challenged in the past year?
A few years ago, while in Brazil, my wife Laura and I went to Rio de Janeiro to see the Christ statue. It was one of the most beautiful places I have seen. The view from up there is so beautiful. But the drive there is crazy! Roads are tight, curvy, muddy, potholes everywhere, danger of violence (mostly thieves wanting to rob you) at every turn. It was cold and the visibility was not the greatest. I remember thinking “this is dumb.
Is all this effort worth enduring just to see a statue and a view?” I was concerned about driving on such difficult and dangerous roads. However, as we were about halfway up I remembered a quote I had read a long time ago.
“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” (unknown)
That was true for Laura and I that day. After a messy and dangerous drive and a long walk we found ourselves at the top of a beautiful mountain with the statue of the Christ right in front of us! From there you could see the ocean and the “Cidade Maravilhosa” (that’s how Brazilians call Rio de Janeiro – “The Beautiful City”).
I have to admit looking down on Rio from above — with the beaches, the wooded areas and the ocean surrounding it that the city is beautiful. We were so impressed with what we saw that we gave glory to God for His creation. However, we would never have enjoyed the view and given glory to God if we would not have traveled the difficult road up the mountain!
Are you traveling on difficult roads right now? Do you know where they are leading you?
Reality is we have no idea where life is taking us. We wake up in the morning with a plan in mind and BOOM! Something unexpected happens and what was a good road starts to be curvy, messy, and dangerous…. Life can change in a blink of the eye!
We learn quickly that difficult roads don’t discriminate. They afflict everyone!
We come to realize that we are not immune to life’s struggles; household bills, broken promises, health problems, death, nights slept on a hospital bed, cancer, childcare dilemmas, addictions, broken relationships, difficult career demands and decisions, bank balances in the red… the list can be overwhelming!
The biblical narrative teaches us the importance of embracing and not ignoring challenging and difficult times.
“If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.”
You can find God and the blessings of God in those difficult times!
Many falsely believe that God imposes difficult roads on the life of an individual but biblically difficult roads are not imposed by God but used by Him to mature individuals and to lead them to an awareness of a need for God.
Difficult roads disclose our humanity. We are finite. We are limited. We don’t know everything. And certainly cannot do everything. Here is where the Biblical narrative is so helpful and hope-giving. We may be limited, but through our earthly experience we can connect with the One who can do all things.
The One who meets us in our brokenness and makes us whole again.
The One who can help while in need.
The One who can guide you through your troubles.
The One who can make the impossible, possible.
We might never know where life is taking us but one thing I can assure you, through the biblical narrative, that if you give God a chance He can use your challenges as a platform to lift you up above your difficulties and to mature you while at the same time making you grow closer to the reality of a caring and loving God.
If we give up on the difficult roads of life, or maybe even take a path that just looks easier, we will miss out on some of the most beautiful things that God has for us.
Sam Rosa is Senior Minister at Delaware Christian Church.