There is No Easy Out
“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”’ (Romans 1:16-17, NLT)
If you’ve ever seen a picture of Cape Town, chances are you’ve noticed Table Mountain, a gigantic, flat-topped mountain that provides the backdrop to hands-down my favorite city on the planet. Back in 2015, I was living, going to school, and serving on a missions trip in the mother city, when my mom and grandma surprised me with a 10-day visit. By that time, I had been there for months, and I had climbed other mountains, but I hadn’t yet gone to the summit of one of the seven natural wonders of this world.
So on one of our last days together, three generations of Cordero women decided to climb Table
Mountain. Anyone that’s familiar with Cape Town knows that there are dozens of ways to get to the top, but all those trails boil down to two modes of transportation: hiking or the cable car. Those that don’t want to brave the endless steps and switchbacks of hiking can turn the two-hour walk into a three minute glide for the small price of $20 USD.
We, of course, decided not to do that. So we took an Uber to the beginning of the trail, passing everyone in line for the cable car, and proceeded to climb the mountain for way longer than the estimated time. It was a challenge to say the least. There were tons of people trodding up the same trail, which was mostly stairs, stairs, and more stairs. We ran out of water before reaching the midway point, it was a scorchingly hot day out, and– if you’ve ever climbed a mountain before you’ll know exactly what I mean– it seemed like new trails and hurdles kept appearing the closer we got to the top. At one point, I separated from the group, preferring to race ahead to a higher point and then wait for the others to catch up. As I was sitting at the end of a switchback, I was thinking about all the work we had already put into climbing this mountain, and the last push of effort we needed to put in before we could take in what was sure to be a beautiful view of the city from the top. It was there that the Holy Spirit caught my attention.
“There is no cable car when it comes to faith.”
It was a strange thought, but the more I turned it over in my heart, the more I knew it to be truth. Compared to the long, arduous hike up this mountain, the cable car was an easy option to a difficult journey. But when it comes to walking with the Lord, there is no easy option. We have to start somewhere. We have to take every painstaking step and venture down every trail and switchback. Sometimes, every fiber of your being begs you to stop and rest, and other times, the endurance built from the journey carries you into a new spurt of energy to keep going. Sometimes we travel alone and sometimes we have the beautiful opportunity to walk it with people who share the same goal and destination.
And because we’ve put in so much work, once we get to the top and see exactly what has always been waiting for us, we rejoice in it. We boast in it. There is a sense of accomplishment. There is a precious moment of seeing just how far our bodies, minds, and spirits could go, and there is a wonder for the driving force that pushed us to the top.
For us, as Christians, that driving force is our love for God and our belief in the fact that He will never leave or forsake us. When we’re climbing a mountain with Jesus, every step might not be a cake walk, but it is certainly worth it. We may not understand why we had to put in so much work, but He never forgets to bless our socks off. And every step along the way, He is funding us with the power and the endurance to push through and reach our purpose.
Our faith is both the initial spark that sends us on down the trail and the last push of energy we give before we get to the end. Our faith is the reason we endure through everything that comes in between those moments. That’s why it is so important that we keep it ready and present; constantly maturing it and allowing it to mature us, and that’s why we can’t take the easy way in developing it. At the end of the day, we can’t jump ahead of it all and skip straight to the blessing. There would be no real satisfaction in that, and there would be no reverence for what Jesus did to make a way for you to receive that blessing.
So after all the hard work, frustration, sweat, doubt, and exhaustion, three generations of Cordero women made it to the top. We were hungry, thirsty, and sweaty, but our smiles were big and bright when we looked down on Cape Town and the ocean beyond it. It was truly a moment I could never forget, and in a way, I know a lot of it has to do with the journey to the top. We worked for the view, something we would have never respected and delighted in the way we did if we had decided to take the cable car.
So this morning, I want to encourage you. Maybe you’re at the bottom of the mountain and trying to pump yourself up for the long journey ahead. Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle, struggling through fatigue and frustration. Maybe you thought you made it to the top, only to find more hurdles and steps. Wherever you are, keep going. Don’t forget, there is a God who walks alongside you every step of the way and is so excited for you to get to the top of this mountain. To skip this part is to cheat yourself out of the lessons that come with the journey.
The cable car might be cool and easy, but it will never develop your soul and prepare you for the purpose that God assigned to you. So instead, let Him take His time and invest your energy into waiting and working with Him.
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