"And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
Matthew 10:38-39 (ESV)
I heard this story this last week on Christian radio and had to share it:
A young boy of ten had three older brothers and a dad who loved to hike a large mountain in Washington state. This boy's dad would show his sons his love for them as they spent time together hiking up the mountain. One day, the ten-year-old told his dad that he would rather stay down in the visitor's center. He told him that a hike up the mountain would be "boring." The real problem was that he didn't want to climb the icy, rocky face and possibly injure himself. He was afraid of all that the trail might bring to him--gashed knees and the humiliation in front of his brothers of falling down. His dad tried and tried to persuade him. Finally, he agreed to let the boy go back down the trail to stay the day in the visitor center at the bottom of the mountain.
The boy was so happy with himself. Out of the raw wind, the visitor center was warm and cozy. There was so much to see with all of the various displays and information placards to read about each animal that lived on the mountain. The center had loop movies that played every ten to twenty minutes. With all the time in the world, he was convinced he had made the best choice to not go out on the mountain with his dad and brothers.
About three hours later, the boy began to notice that the cozy temperature in the building seemed stuffy. The movies, by the fifth time of watching them, had become stale and boring to look at again. Even annoying. The four walls that had seemed so spacious suddenly seemed small and smothering. But the worst thing was...he missed his daddy.
Finally, as dusk was setting in and after sitting for what seemed like an eternity, he saw the familiar group of four tramping towards the door of the visitor center. All of their cheeks had evidence of being chapped by the freezing wind. It had not been an easy climb up the mountain. But there was a look of triumph in their eyes. They had reached the goal and now had stories that the young boy realized he would never be a part of.
His daddy asked him how his day was in the visitor center. The boy, not wanting to admit that he felt left out or that he regretted staying back behind, said, "It was great!" In his heart he knew, however, that he had missed the adventure. Over thirty years later, he can still feel the stab of regret of not going with his daddy on the mountain that day.
Girlfriends, our Abba has called you up to the mountain. Yes, the rocks are sharp and have the ability to cut you wide open. The ice and the wind are brutal and will knock you down unmercifully at times. But your Abba has your back. He is there, calling you to climb ever higher. You have said yes to the adventure, though it leave you with scrapes and scars. But you know the alternative--the visitor center is not where He is. You would soon find your old life to be stuffy and boring because that is not where He would have you. You could never go back, even on those days when the enemy reminds you of all that you have left behind. It is a lie from the pit of hell to cause you to miss what God has for you right now, in this moment. And for all eternity, you will be remember how worthy He is and what a privilege it was to be part of walking the mountain with our God. You will not have missed the adventure!
Jesus, may I say no to my fears today! You are with me and cannot fail me. You have made me an over comer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony about Your greatness. Spare me the great regret of having missed it all because the mountain looked so daunting. Help me not to spend time today mourning over where You have brought me. It is a lie from the enemy to think that You would withhold any good thing from me. My life is with You now, not back last week, last month, or last year. The adventure is now and in what is ahead. Thank You that You are there waiting for me, preparing for every step I will take.