Friday, February 29, 2008

When The Going Gets Tough

Jesus never tried to get people to follow him under false pretenses. He was honesty personified. “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me” Mark 8:34.

He never used the word easy as a ploy to win a following. He leveled with us. He knew there would be times along the way when we would grow weary, discouraged and disheartened. He entertained no romantic notions of discipleship. He knew the physical pain and mental hardships, the loss of loved ones, the failure of people we look up to and admire would take its toll.

Loneliness, rejection and abandonment would sap our spirits and the day would come when faith would no longer offer any assurance, drive or comfort. We echo the sentiments of St. Teresa of Avila, “Lord, if this is how you treat your friends, it is no wonder you have so few!”

The Christian life is a sacred journey. The travails of travel are endured on a daily basis. We never reach a point when we can accurately say that we have finished the journey, at least not on this side of heaven. We do not arrive until life on this side of earth is ended. It takes a radical decision on God’s terms to get from here to eternity.

A radical decision does not make us perfect. The climb to the top of the mountain top is long and arduous. It is a long haul, there are no short cuts. The climb begins with a decision to go for the top. Failures and setbacks are inevitable. Failure does not deter us. We pick ourselves up with the grace of God, dust ourselves off and start again. Follow me, stake your life on me and go for broke. And our response is to keep on keeping on.