The main roads are clear of snow, but it’s freezing cold and I’ve got 200 miles to ride home. With the temperature down to -7 degrees, I’m keeping the speed down to about 50 mph and even then that’s adding another, or rather taking another five degrees off with wind chill. I’m just about the only vehicle on the road for mile after mile and it gives me plenty of time to keep pondering, ‘is this really worth it’!
Whatever the circumstances, there are times when we inevitably ask this very logical question in rather unforgiving circumstances. Being a member of God’s Squad gives us no immunity to that for sure. It could be somewhat rather uncomfortable riding conditions or a plethora of other reasons; ridicule, misunderstandings, communication breakdowns, being taken for granted or even wondering if we are actually fulfilling the function we say we do.
I recall one particular conversation, back at the bar, after a funeral. It had been a hectic day and naturally there were many raw emotions - we had had a prominent role, and a deep responsibility entrusted to us, in leading our friends through their grief as they said good bye to a much loved brother. I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder, the kind that’s had a few beers, but there was a warmth in both the embrace and the words that followed; “I don’t believe the same as you; but we really need you guys around at these times”.
The sentiment of these words I have heard many many times over the past twenty years and it’s these stories I recall when I ask, ‘is this really worth it’? I love Eugene Peterson’s translation of Jesus words in Matthew 5, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’, in The Message as; "You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.”
The way of Christ continues to offer no immunity to struggle and questions, but it also continues to be the road of making ‘beauty out of ugly things’ as U2 sing in ‘Grace’. I let my fingers thaw out enough to refuel the bike, and press on as the sun begins to rise.